Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The power of a distorted image

Images can be powerful. Extremely powerful. Sometimes the power is great but unfortunately, not always. The way I see things, actually the way I see one thing, is distorted. And try as I might to view it correctly, I can't. This has lead to numerous meltdowns. 

No matter what size I am when I look at myself in the mirror or in a photograph, I see myself as morbidly obese. That is stage one of the meltdown. And then starts the pity party with thoughts of "I'm so fat and ugly, no wonder I have no friends or dates," and "I'm too fat and ugly to be successful. I'll always be a failure." 

I know. It's crazy thinking and I know those things aren't true. I would never and will never classify myself as beautiful but I don't think I'm atrocious looking. Just average. A plain Jane. It's all good. But back to this weight issue. 

I was a chubby kid. I have memories branded in my mind of my schoolmates mocking me, laughing at me and tormenting me. One kid preferred to use names with lard in it instead of my name. Awesome, no? I've worked hard though. The diabetes helps me stay on a healthy diet. I rarely go out to eat and maybe only a handful of times eat fast food because I'm traveling and its the only options. I do my best to work out as well. I'm very careful in regards to losing and maintaining weight because a family member has an eating disorder. I don't want to go down that road. I've learned from their experiences. 

In 2012 though, I got sick. Really sick. I spent a week in the hospital from seizures (and doctors are still unsure why I had them). The medicine I was placed on did bad things. It killed off my appetite, made me constantly sleepy, irritable and emotional. It was scary. At one point I was under 90 pounds with my hip bones sticking out and the rib cage starting to poke out. Not good people. Not good at all. And yet, part of me liked how I looked. Guys at the swimming pool were flirting with me, hitting on me. I liked it. But lets be honest, it wasn't a good thing. After ending up in the hospital again for another week, they switched my medicine and praise the Lord, my appetite came back. In an effort to gain weight back, my good, healthy eating habits went out the door. 

It is now the end of 2013 and I'm no longer my small size 2 I prefer. I doubt I will ever go back to a size 00 and I'm not sure I would want to. But I'm not close to a 2 anymore either. And this has me traumatized. People say I look okay but I look at myself and cry. I find myself disgusting. I want to avoid all human interaction because, in my mind, I'm not pretty enough. What is frustrating is how I know I'm not disgusting or obese. I know that for my frame I should lose a little weight but I'm in no danger zone. 

It is fascinating the power a distorted image can have on yourself. 

I'm not sure why I decided to blog about this today. Maybe because everyone starts New Year's resolutions tomorrow. Maybe because when I tried on clothes I received for Christmas and they didn't fit I had a complete meltdown. Maybe because it just sometimes helps to get something out instead of talking about it to yourself. I have no idea. What I do know is that despite what my eyes see, I'm not ugly or too fat or so atrocious I'll send kids running away from me in fear. In that sense, life is all good. 

Thanks for letting me ramble. And most importantly -- HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Partial holiday success

In my last post, I wrote about how much I love to cook and bake. I shared what I was attempting to make as holiday gifts for my coworkers. As promised, this was my end result: 

The completed 2013 holiday treat plate
Not too bad, huh? My type A, perfectionist self is not pleased. I was not able to place all of the treats I made on the plates. The cinnamon sugar pretzels had to be left off. I also became frustrated because the crushed peppermint on the cookies were starting to fall off. Being extra nit-picky, I did not approve of my attempts at wrapping the homemade caramels in the red foils. I tried but I don't think the 2013 holiday treat plates were my best efforts. Good thing there is holiday season every year for me to improve. 

Thankfully, everyone said it all tasted delicious so I was successful in that sense. But Martha Stewart always says "It's all about the presentation." I would grade my presentation skills at a D. At least I can give myself an A for deliciousness. 

It is one week until Christmas so in addition to being hump day, today is the first day of a week of pure chaos. I'll give myself an B+ with holiday shopping. I've completed all of my shopping and only had to visit the mall once in order to be a helper elf for my mom. The crowds and hustle and bustle did result in a small anxiety attack but I survived. I even scored some rock star parking!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with friends, family and even pets. Speaking of pets, Rocky would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Too many holiday treats? Nonsense!

Sometimes I wonder if I was a Keebler elf in a past life. I enjoy baking. Somehow baking helps me relax. I'm not quite sure what it is about baking that relaxes me, but it does. I enjoy making yummy treats to give to my friends. It tends to make me happy. I'll be honest though. Another perk is making something and being able to keep a piece for me and not have the rest of the batch around to consume. I don't mean that as a perk in regards to weight control. I see it as a perk in regards to controlling my blood sugars. One homemade cookie isn't going to send my blood sugars skyrocketing. An entire batch might but the one or two I keep won't. And no one said a diabetic isn't allowed to have a treat here and there. You just have to be smart about these things. Moderation and all that mumble jumble. Obviously. 

It shouldn't surprise anyone that since I enjoy (okay, I love baking) that I get extremely excited about the holiday season. I'm similar to a kid on Christmas morning bouncing up and down with endless energy as I go through my thousands and thousands of recipes selecting possibilities to make. And now with Pinterest, oh my goodness, so many possibilities.

I usually find at least a dozen potential recipes and then work to narrow it down. I always give my coworkers a plate of goodies for the holidays so I make sure I have a nice variety of treats. Starting around the beginning of October I make sure to pay attention to the weekly sale ads and begin to stock up on supplies without knowing what I'll make. You can never have too much butter or chocolate when it comes to holiday baking. 

And once my kitchen is overflowing with supplies and I've selected my recipes, I start baking. Many treats can be frozen so I tend to start baking the week of Thanksgiving. This may be one reason I never travel for Thanksgiving. So I can spend the day getting a jump start on holiday baking. That and hello, Nebraska football on Black Friday. 

So you can get an idea of my craziness with holiday baking, here are treat boxes from the past two holiday seasons. 

My 2011 treat boxes for friends in Madison, Wis. Seven-layer bars, chocolate chip meringues, pepper mint meringues, cinnamon candy, cookies and cream fudge, peanut butter cracker sandwiches and holly bunches. 

My 2012 treats before I plated. Holly bunches, chocolate chip meringues, chocolate crisp clusters, seven-layer bars, peanut butter cracker sandwiches, orange drop cookies. I think I made something else but I can't remember.

And both of those two were just average. Some years I have gone overload (I think this year might be like that). Other years I've gone extremely simple and basic. 

This year I have a list of eight recipes I plan to make. I've completed five. I just found another recipe I want to make. Obviously this means I need one more so my treat plates have an even ten. I'm not crazy (or rich enough) to make a total of 12 treats. If you have treat suggestions, share them in the comments. 

Here is what I have on my list so far:
  • Seven layer bars (my FAVORITE) 
  • Rolo pretzel bites
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough fudge
  • Cinnamon sugar pretzels
  • Homemade almond joy bars
  • Holly bunches
  • Homemade caramel
  • Peppermint buttercream cake mix cookies
  • Peanut butter oreo cookie balls
 Ambitious? Probably. Put I'll be happy. I'll make sure to share a picture of my completed treat plates. All leftovers will go home to my parents for the holidays. Well, all except the leftover seven layer bars. I will consumer those and refuse to feel guilty.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

An exhaustive roller coaster

There is so much to discuss. I meant to blog on Monday but the past two days have been exhausting with my blood sugars. 

Last week I started my CGM and wanted to write a blog after completing the first week. Instead, you'll have to settle for a quick recap. 

The sensor and I did not get along for the first 24 hours or so because during the two hour warmup period, I had a low blood sugar, which obviously I had to treat. You aren't supposed to eat during that warmup period of the sensor. Whoops. At one point while I was still treating my CGM flashed a message on my pump "I am a diabetic. Call 911 in this emergency." I about died laughing when I saw that while eating my glucose tabs checking out at Sam's Club. Because of the low, my sensor kept thinking I was low. As I attempted to sleep, it kept beeping and vibrating at me telling me I was below 50 and it was suspending my basal. I checked my blood sugar. I was hanging out in the 140s. My poor pump and CGM. I kept yelling at it to not stop my basal but eventually I was able to fall asleep and the pump won and stopped my basal for a few hours. I was pretty high in the morning which did not surprise me. Because the sensor and glucose meter numbers were so far apart my trainer helped me restart the sensor which got the two on the same page. It was easy sailing and I changed the sensor as I was supposed to on Sunday. 

And then my blood sugars went on a crazy roller coaster. If they were a child, I'd yell at them to go sit in timeout. 

I changed my infusion site on Monday at breakfast and had an awesome blood sugar -- 124. Two hours later I checked, as you should when you change your infusion site, and I had gone up to the mid-200s. Seriously?! I only ate a cup of Cherrios and skim milk for breakfast. I took some corrective insulin and figured things would be find. Checked an hour later to make sure. Nope. Cue my panic. My sugar was 411. I called my trainer as I was supposed to at that time to discuss the first week of the sensor and left her a message giving her the 411 (ha!) and that I'd be on the phone with the 1-800 help line. 

Called the 1-800 number at Medtronic and bless their hearts, they are ridiculously wonderful and kind. I was so stressed and nearly in tears because I didn't know what was going on and just continuously apologized for bothering them. The rep walked me through the troubleshooting of my pump and we saw the pump was giving me insulin so we took some corrective insulin and I was told to call back when I was at home so we could do the final troubleshooting stage of my pump because I needed the blue clamps for that, which were at home. 

An hour later at lunch, I was still hovering right below 400. Not cool. Took my insulin, attempted to eat lunch. Checked at 2, still hanging out in the high numbers. By this point I could barely contain my tears from frustration. I vented on Facebook and halleluiah. A friend from diabetic camp who has a pump commented on my post. She mentioned that this has happened to her and it is usually a kinked cannula. She explained I needed to change my infusion set to check. Well I'll be darned. My cannula was kinked. I changed my infusion set.

Called my other Medtronic rep, who is crazy awesome, to request a replacement infusion set and reservoir. Speaking with her, I learned I made the error of not rewinding the piston and so we fixed that and gave me some corrective insulin because until that point I really hadn't received any insulin. 

By the time I went to bed my blood sugars were below 200. Oh happy day! They weren't bad on Tuesday but then I went low after dinner and my pump and sensor kept beeping at me and wanted to suspend my basal. Again, my thinking is, hell no. So I ended up over treating my low and woke up this morning (Wednesday) with a high blood sugar (below 300). Ate breakfast and had some corrective insulin. 

My sensor is saying my sugars are staying right around the number from breakfast. At this point I just want to bang my head. I'll check on my meter shortly and correct. I know my infusion is working because of the low last night.

I realize this roller coaster was partly my fault because the cannula was kinked and I didn't notice and then I ate too much to treat a low. My head has been hurting since Monday because of this roller coaster. I can take comfort in knowing a lot of this is just trial and error of being new to the pump and these things happen. But I really wish my sugars would be complacent and just stay on a nice plateau, preferably in my target range of 100 - 120, but really, my doctor and I are happy to just keep me under 200 based on my pre-pump numbers. I'm making progress.

And now I'm counting down until lunch so I can take a nap.    

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My own spirit squad

Customer service, it seems, is consistently spiraling downward. On social media there are tweets and posts galore of people sharing their frustrations about company xyz with no response from the company. Just when you think it is impossible to even experience the bare minimum of good customer service, you experience or witness customer service that leaves you blown away with amazement. It leaves you questioning if the amazing customer service actually happened or if you just imagined it. 

Working in the public relations industry, I tend to pay closer attention to customer service stories but have never had one that I've been anxious to share or felt an need to share. At least not until recently. 

I recently blogged about switching to a pump. I was absolutely terrified of the switch for many reasons. And it turning into a good decision. One of the reasons it has been good (and pretty easy) to switch has been the exceptional support of Medtronic, the company that makes my pump and CGM. 

I'm sure they are thrilled to sell their pumps and CGMs to make money, but their actions indicate to me that they are invested in all of their customers. Let me break down how they have been putting others to shame with their expectations of customer service:
  • While waiting for insurance to approve everything, they stayed in contact with me and worked with the insurance to get it approved;
  • When the two huge boxes of everything arrived, they called to schedule a time to walk me through everything, which helped to prevent me from having a full-on anxiety attack due to the massive amount of items and training books;
  • In that same call, they walked me through setting up my pump to continue my training;
  • Their certified trainer called and scheduled my pump training and provided me all of her contact information; 
  • The day after pump training, my trainer called to check in with me and make sure everything was going well; and
  • A week after wearing the pump, my other contact at Medtronic called to check in on me and see how I was doing with the pump.
All that is just the foundation of what they are doing. It gets better. 

My trainer responds as quickly as possible when I email, call or text with questions or concerns. For example, insurance wouldn't fill my insulin vial prescription because I had recently filled my insulin pens prescription. I let my trainer know after hours by e-mail and asked how I should proceed. She got back to me within 30 minutes and told me she'd grab a vial from my doctor in case I couldn't get one in time for training. Crisis adverted!

What is the icing on the cake though is their customer service efforts on social media, especially on Twitter (@MDT_Diabetes). If you look at their timeline, it appears they respond to every single tweet they receive or even are mentioned in. Even if it isn't a question but rather a comment. I've seen tweets about their new packaging and they responded how they were glad the person liked it. I tweeted about being excited about the various skins available for my pump and mentioned it's the small things. They responded agreeing that it is indeed the small things. 

My interaction with them today though is my favorite. 

It is as if I have my own spirit squad constantly cheering me on and providing support whenever I need it. Their support reminds me of this commercial

Here is an example when I didn't even name them and they immediately provided help. 

And another example of there cheeriness. 

It isn't fun having a chronic illness to deal with every single second and it seems they get that. By staying on top of what their customers are saying and responding to pleas for help and both positive and negative comments, it is impressive.

As a customer, it leaves you with the impression they truly care about you and not just the bottom dollar. I'm confident with the entire Medtronic team I'm working with along with my doctors, there is absolutely no way I will fail at having a pump and most likely have the best control I've had in ages of my diabetes. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Up and pumping

November 11 was a pretty big day for me. Exciting too. 

On my birthday, I got a huge package in the mail. It was actually sent in two boxes. Those boxes contained all these goodies: 
So much stuff!
As you can see, I made the decision (kind of) to switch to an insulin pump. I had what could be considered an anxiety attack going through all of the materials. There has to be at least five pounds of training materials -- and that doesn't even include all the videos on the website. 

My doctor and I selected the Medtronic MiniMed 530G with the Enlite sensor. The Enlite sensor is a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Together, they are being referred to as an artificial pancreas. It isn't quite an artificial one but it is one huge step closer. In fact, Time magazine named it as one of the top inventions for 2013

Medtronic takes their industry seriously. Trust me on this one. (I plan to write a blog about my experiences with them later this week). They didn't just send the supplies and let me figure it out. They called and walked me through opening up all the boxes. They connected me with a trainer, Ashley, so I could learn all about my pump! 

That is why Nov. 11 was a big day. An exciting day. I met with Ashley and she walked me through how to use my pump. She answered questions I had (even ones I considered silly and strange). She determined my starting rates for my basal and bolus along with my sensitivity factor and target range for blood sugars. 

For my wonderful non-diabetic readers -- basal is long acting insulin, the pump works like your pancreases do and gives me my insulin at a steady rate every hour to help control my blood sugars. Bolus is my fast acting and is taken when I eat food or to correct my blood sugars. It is the same insulin but disbursed differently. Sensitivity factor is how much my blood sugar will drop per every unit of insulin I take.

And then, after I learned and learned and everything was determined, she taught me how to prepare the reservoir (holds the insulin) and infusion set (tubing and connects the pump to your body). Next thing you knew, this was happening: 

Officially up and pumping
And then I was sent on my way. 

Ashley called the next day to see how it was going and the day after that went over my numbers with my doctor. I saw my doctor the day after that and we adjusted things such as my carb-to-insulin ratio and sensitivity factor. I'm convinced my doctor, Ashley and really, all of Medtronic, are going to make sure I do not fail at this.

With just over one week completed of wearing the pump, I've only had one error of messing up my reservoir but I'm okay with that because truth is, errors happen in life, especially when adjusting to something new. 

I'm not sure why I was so reluctant and hesitant to switch to the pump because already, my control seems much better and I'm feeling pretty optimistic. Maybe I can avoid some complications such as losing a limb or my eyesight or having my kidneys fail. 

Next week, on the 25th, I jump all in with this new management of my diabetes and learn all about my CGM and get that attached to me. The CGM takes your blood sugar approximately every 5 minutes 24/7. It works with the pump and will shut off your pump if your blood sugar gets too low so you don't receive additional insulin and continue staying low. 

But to summarize, I am now officially up and pumping. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The challenge of risotto

For my first cooking challenge, I decided to make risotto. Ambitious? Absolutely considering cheftestants are sent home from Top Chef for it. I’ve made risotto before – from the box mix. From scratch? Not so much. 

I chose the Basic Risotto recipe from Williams-Sonoma’sTools & Technique book. I raised the stakes by making the four cheese variation. Reviewing the recipe, it didn’t seem that hard. Only six steps. I went to the store and picked up my ingredients.

Mmm, cheese! I had planned to make it on Sunday but realized sine I wouldn’t be home the next three nights for dinner due to my work schedule, a lot of it would go to waste. That and I didn’t have win and the liquor store was not open on Sunday. Thankfully, cheese doesn’t go bad very quickly and I was able to wait until the following Sunday to make it.

Pretending to be a Top Chef but in reality was closer to a competitor on Worst Cooks in America, I prepared all my ingredients. And realized I potentially already failed at making the risotto. I bought shredded, not grated Parmesan and asiago cheeses. Fantastic. I decided to risk it because a) I didn’t want to go to the store and b) I had already bought the shredded cheese and had no other use for said cheese. No need to waste money.

Starting off, it wasn’t hard but then came steps four and five. Step four said to add the simmering chicken stock by the ladle until it is absorbed, which will take approximately 20 minutes. Step five said that after 20 minutes, taste the risotto and if needed add the reserved chicken stock. Crap. Was it another 20 minutes after the first 20 minutes in step four or were the 20 minutes in step five the same 20 minutes in step four? A total of 20 minutes or a total of 40 minutes? I called my sister in a panic because I had no clue. Thankfully, she wasn’t sure either but we determined they were the same 20 minutes, so 20 minutes total. Thank goodness – I was getting hungry. She then admitted that she had never successfully made risotto. Fantastic. Thanks sis! I realized at that moment I had a 99.9 percent chance of not be successful in this endeavor.

Once plated, it looked like the boxed risotto I had previously made. It tasted pretty good too. Different than the box but that used different types of cheeses. Also, mine probably wins in the sodium, preservatives, etc. count.

The finished product

Overall, I consider my first challenge a success and I can now mark off one of my cookbooks. I’ll work on selecting the next cookbook and recipe to tackle this weekend.

Diabetes wise, it was a guessing game in regards to nutrition. I still had a box of the other risotto in my cupboard so I used that nutrition label as a guideline to determine my serving size and carb count and for my curiosity, fat and calorie count.

If you know of a great website or app that lets you enter in a recipe to determine the nutrition, please let me know.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Taking ownership

It feels as if I've been tapping a reset button the entire month of October. It has been a theoretical reset button since you cannot completely reset your life as much as we would like to. Each time I've tapped this imaginary button, I've been making a change. Thinking about these changes and decisions I've made, I'm in awe of what they all together represent. The changes and decisions may seem small alone but together they result in a huge decision. At least for me. That decision -- I will not let my diabetes own me. I will own my diabetes. I refuse to continue to be ashamed of having a chronic illness that I never asked for. I promise you, as a child I was not praying every night for my pancreas to stop working so I could start injecting myself multiple times a day and poke my fingers daily numerous times. I get why you might think a kid would pray for that because it is the most awesome way to live. Side note: that was 100% sarcasm. Diabetes isn't the worst thing ever, it just isn't the greatest thing ever either. 

Here is the thing. I've had type one diabetes for 23 and a half year. The majority of my life. And I have never been okay with it. I have been ashamed of it because I've suffered some horrible lows at school, on trips and even at work. Even to this day people that have witnessed those lows "tease" me. To me, it comes across as mocking and I'd like to tell them off but that isn't socially acceptable. I've been ashamed because it made me different. Elementary school stunk because I was moved to the front of the entire lunch line to get my "special" hot lunch. Classmates complained because I had to eat a snack in the morning and afternoon. I try my hardest to not mention my diabetes to men in the early dating process. Heck, I had a man use my diabetes as a reason to dump me. He just didn't want to "deal with all that diabetes junk." Having people constantly analyze what you are eating and unknowingly make judgmental looks on their faces - not fun. It gets overwhelming and makes you want to curl up in a hole and avoid humanity altogether. In fact, there have been points in my life when I just refused to acknowledge I have diabetes. That never turned out as it usually ended up with me in an ICU on an insulin drip. Which made me feel even worse because I was letting people down and I couldn't be the perfect diabetic. I still want to shut down and ignore my diabetes and say screw it when I have a high blood sugar but I'm getting better at not doing that. 

So, at the start of October I had a check up with my endocrinologist. She was telling me about a new continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and the pump. I've been pretty dead set against the pump. She asked if I wanted to do a trial run with the CGM to get some really good data on my numbers. 288 readings a day! I said sure, what the heck. And I promised to think about the pump. 

When I returned a few days later to have the CGM removed, the sales rep made it sound like it had already been decided I'd be getting the pump. Oh, okay. I was confused but went with it. Truth is, I needed that extra push to get on board with the pump. I returned at the end of the week to go over the data and get the prescription for the pump. My endocrinologist hugged me and said she wanted me to be a success. That killed me. In a good way. 

For the first time in forever I have an endocrinologist that doesn't judge me. Who wants me to be healthy. Who doesn't push me. Who lets me make decisions. Who works as a team with me. Who seems to believe in me. And that, my friends, is like winning a gold medal.

It was her hug that kicked my brain to where it needed to be. To make me realize I can't let my diabetes own me anymore. That I should not be ashamed of it. Oh heck no. From here on out, I shall own my diabetes. 

My pump, CGM and supplies ironically arrived on my birthday. Happy birthday to me? I just have to complete training and then *boom* I'll be a pumper. I'm excited and scared about this new journey and even if it turns out not to be for me and I return to injections, there is no going back - I will own my diabetes. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hoarding like a squirrel hoards nuts

A squirrel hoards nuts. Like a squirrel, I hoard. Not nuts though. Some might argue I hoard shoes (up to 91 pars not counting flip flops), but I consider that building a collection of beautiful art that makes me feel good and confident about myself when I wear them. No, I apparently hoard recipes. 


I counted them. 39 not including the binders of recipes photocopied from books, printed from the Internet and handwritten recipe cards. Also, notice the stack of Food Network magazines on the top shelf. And two recipe card boxes. This hoard doesn't even include the stack of cookbooks I have in my spare room. I'm guessing approximately 20 in that stack. I obviously have a problem. 

The cookbooks in my spare room will eventually be gone. Hopefully sooner than later. They are cookbooks I just never look at. For example, there is a cookbook all about smoothies. I find yogurt disgusting so why do I have a smoothie book? I went through and found about five recipes that appealed to me. I wrote them down and now that book is in a pile to be donated. Either to the library (do they accept them?) or to Goodwill. I have a couple others that I've gone through that I'll be sending to my sister. Like the smoothie cookbook, I've copied the few recipes that I'm interested in. 

As I work on that, I need to go through all the recipes I've torn out from magazines, printed from the Internet and copied from books. I need to realistically look at them and consider if I will ever attempt them. I'm confident I probably have a half dozen different macaroni and cheese recipes. Too many? Most likely. After I do that, I need to get them organized. Do you have any suggestions? I'm all ears so please, please share. Maybe I'll send you a cookbook or collection of recipes I don't need. Ha. :) 

It makes sense that I have this small hoard. Yes, I consider it small because I do NOT qualify for Hoarders on A&E. I love to cook and bake. In a strange way, it helps me relax and I enjoy feeding people and making them happy with delicious foods. There are cookbooks I have made nothing from. It is a shame. I mentioned in The Nitty Gritty that I love to cook and bake and thought I might share a recipe or two. It will get boring if I only blog about diabetes so I've decided to challenge myself. It will be a long challenge but beneficial. My goal is to at least twice a month make something I haven't made from one of my cookbooks. My basis of twice a month is that I am single so it is pretty much only me eating whatever I make. A simple recipe of taco meat feeds me dinner for an entire week. And yes, I feel guilty throwing out the last serving or two because I'm just sick of eating taco meat. Also, I'm a ridiculously picky eater. I refuse to touch anything tomato related with a 10-foot pole. 

Here's the list of cookbooks on my shelf:
  • Hello, Cupcake!
  • What's New, Cupcake?
  • KitchenAid Baking Basics -- Used it
  • The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook --Used it
  • Everyday Food: Great Food Fast
  • Martha Stewart's Cupcakes -- Used it
  • Martha Stewart's Cookies -- Used it
  • Fondue
  • The Magic of Jelly
  • The Magic of Peanut Butter
  • Julia's Kitchen Wisdom
  • Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Sauces
  • Chevy's Fresh Mex Cookbook
  • Just Tasting Desserts
  • Just Tasting Appetizers
  • Top Secret Restaurant Recipes
  • Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2
  • Grilled cheese, please!
  • Weber's Real Grilling
  • Williams-Sonoma Starters
  • Williams-Sonoma Main Dishes
  • Williams-Sonoma Desserts 
  • Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone
  • Morton's the Cookbook -- Used it
  • The Healthy Carb Diabetes Cookbook
  • Healthy Calendar Diabetic Cooking -- Used it
  • KitchenAid Best-Loved Recipes -- Used it
  • Food Made Fast: Grilling
  • Food Made Fast: Desserts
  • New Flavors for Chicken
  • The Everything Chinese Cookbook
  • The Produce Bible -- Used it
  • The Weeknight Cook -- Used it
  • Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook
  • Betty Crocker's Cookbook
  • Cakepops
  • Crock-Pot Made Simple
  • Williams-Sonoma Tools & Techniques -- Used it

If there is a recipe in one of these books you know of and you think I should try, let me know. It can be overwhelming looking through these cookbooks because there are so many options. 

In the meantime, I promise I'll do my best not to add to my hoarding. Full disclosure, I did just check out a fondue book from the library.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The day my pancreas quit

Behind every diabetic is their story. The story of the day their world completely changed. My story started on March 28, 1990. It may have been the 27th though. The 28th was a Wednesday and I know I had been in the hospital to insist on taking my weekly Friday spelling test on that Friday even though I was in the hospital. I remember leaving the hospital on April 1. So, we'll go with the 28th.

In 1990, I was in second grade. I was eight years old. That day in school I remember spending as much time as possible at the water fountain consuming as much water as possible. I was so tired and didn't feel well so the teachers kept sending me to the nurse's office. The school would not let me go home because I did not have a temperature. I would nap on the cot and then be sent back to class. The cycle continued to repeat the entire day. Finally at 3 p.m. The school decided I could leave early to go home. An entire 15 minutes early! 

Mom picked me up at school and took me home. As soon as we walked in the house she was in the kitchen and on the phone. I had no clue who she was talking to. I grabbed myself a glass of water and gulped it down. It was March and, well that means Girl Scout cookies recently arrived. I climbed up on the cabinet to get to the top shelf of the corner cabinet to get down the box of Samoa cookies. As I reached for the box I heard a very loud "NO!" Mom told me that I couldn't have any cookies. 

The next thing I knew we were at the clinic and soon the doctor, our neighbor, was telling Mom that I indeed had juvenile diabetes. Mom and the doctor spoke for awhile and then Mom told me we were headed to the hospital. Um, say what? I don't remember much from the day. I don't remember if they told me I had diabetes at the clinic or at the hospital. Because of that I don't remember my reaction to the news. I'll have to ask my parents one of these days. 

**Side note: I spoke with my Mom and apparently my memories are not quite accurate. Dad actually picked me up from school and brought me home early but no one told Mom so she waited quite awhile in the school parking lot for me. Eventually she asked the school where I was and they told her Dad had picked me up. From there they took me to the clinic and then to the hospital. She doesn't remember what I do about the cookies, so who knows on that part. 

While in the hospital I learned how to poke my finger to test my blood sugars. I learned how to give myself my shots of insulin but until I went to summer camp (a camp for diabetics - it was like Disney World!) I never gave my own shots. They explained my new diet and how to count calories. 1800 calories a day. My sisters and parents spent a lot of time at the hospital with me. My grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin came to see me too. Some classmates visited me. My teacher did as well -- to give me my spelling test. Full disclosure, spelling was never my best subject and I remember doing horribly on that test. At least I tried though. My teacher brought me a packet of letters all my classmates wrote me telling me to get better. Dad brought me several presents which, oh my goodness, I could never have ever dreamed of owning. He brought me a Paula Abdul 'Forever Your Girl' poster. He also bought me that cassette. Best of all, he bought me my very own cassette tape player. He probably should have waited until after I got discharged from the hospital to give all that to me because I may or may not have played the tape a little too loudly in my room. The loud music may or may not have been accompanied by some dancing on my bed. Hey. Who said a hospital has to be boring? 

When you are diagnosed with a chronic illness, life changes. It changes A LOT. Some things become better. Some things become worse. There are hurdles you have to jump over and times when you have  to make adjustments. With a chronic illness you learn to pray and hope each day that a cure will be found. That it will be found sooner rather than later. But with a chronic illness, guess what, you aren't dead. You are able to continue living. Yes, you change things, but if you do what you need to, you are alive. It is a pain in the butt. It is annoying. It is not fun. But it is doable. You just have to find a way to make it doable. 

So, yes, on March 28, 1990, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes but nearly 24 years later I am still kicking. I may be a diabetic but it doesn't define me. Rather it is just a part of me. Just like my crazy curly hair.