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.