Tuesday, September 23, 2014

An overlooked treasure

September is winding down and with all the chaos this month has brought for me I've neglected to write this post. In case you didn't know, September is International Women's Friendship Month. 

What started as just a day of celebration has grown into a month of celebration. Kappa Delta Sorority created this day in 1999. Ten years later, it became a month long celebration. 

To quote the IWFM website
Ask any woman--there's something special about her friendships with other women. Our female friends know us better than anyone else. They are there to listen, to console, and to encourage. They are our loudest cheerleaders and our most compassionate confidantes. Our women friends come in a wide variety--sister, mother, neighbor, childhood playmate, college roommate. We make connections at the playground, the workplace, the gym, and over the proverbial back fence.

The friendship among women can easily be overlooked because true friends are always there for each other. It can be overlooked because most women are social creatures and when looking at a glance, there is no shortage of friends for them. At times it seems these friendships can be taken for granted. They shouldn't be but alas they are. 

For me, this is an important month that serves more as reminder to go out of my way to appreciate the friendships I have already established and perhaps step out of my comfort zone to attempt to initiate a new friendship. 

I've always been a social person although as I get older my social butterfly personality has calmed. I've moved all over the Midwest creating friendships in each location I've resided. It is painful each time I've moved to leave behind those friends. Especially as I get older because I just don't want to have to start from scratch again finding new friends and inserting myself into established social circles. From my experience, the older you get, the harder it is. I also have an irrational worry of imposing or being a burden on people so I tend not to initiate get-togethers. Speaking of, I really need to get a book club set up because I miss my previous book club. A LOT!

With each move it is hard to maintain those friendships. Thankfully, email, text messages, social media, etc. help immensely. I remember the days when I went to diabetic camp and we had to be legit pen pals. How exciting it was to receive a letter in the mail. A wonderful friend, who by the way is a TWO-time Ironman finisher, and I have recreated that and randomly send each other little notes here and there. You are welcome United States Postal Service. 

I'm beginning to ramble about how friendships change as life changes. As you move away from friends, it becomes so much easier to neglect or forget about the friendships you've already established. And that is how this month serves as a great reminder. It reminds me appreciate my friends who I don't see on a routine basis. It reminds me to reach out and at least say hi. The really strong friendships are the ones where it doesn't matter how much time goes between communicating because it always seems as if you just talked the day before. 

As I scramble to send small notes to my friends across the country (although I'm confident I won't get to everyone even though I love them all), to at least say hi, I encourage you to do the same. Even if your friends are just across town, it doesn't hurt to randomly send a text or to call and say hi. Perhaps see if they want to grab a drink or go get your nails done. Sometimes that small hi can be the highlight of their day, especially if life has been so busy you haven't had a chance to talk lately. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It is time...

It is time to get serious. I've mentioned here and there in various blogs about my need to lose weight. I'm not happy with my current weight or how I look. Granted, the disgust I have for my body relates to more than society informing me of how we should all look like Kate Upton (who, to be fair, is beautiful and she should not be shamed for that fact.)

Here is current situation. For several years I worked hard and got my weight to where I was comfortable with it and was happy with how I looked. Sure, I wanted to look better but I didn't hate myself. 

Following the day of seizures in 2012, I was placed on anti-seizure medicine. Seemed like a good idea but it turns out I am allergic to that medicine. I went from a steady 115 pounds to about 85 founds between mid-March and mid-July. You could see my rib cage. My hip bones were sticking out. Size 00 shorts were falling off. It was ugly. I was ugly. I loved being skinny but even I was aware I shouldn't be that skinny. 

They took me off the medicine and encouraged me to not really pay attention to what I was eating and to not stress about working out. My weight steadily increased but not at a fast enough pace to send me into a tizzy. Then I was placed on the pump and my weight dramatically (to me) jumped. And here we are. Back at not liking how I look. Being disgusted when I look at myself in the mirror or in pictures. If you are curious to why I find myself disgusting it is from being sexually harassed and assaulted in college. No matter what others tell me, no matter what I try to convince myself of, these men picked me to act upon because I was fat. They must have seen it as a free pass. They probably thought "Well, she's fat and not that good looking. She'll consider it her lucky day to have this attention because no other man is going to touch her." And when I look at myself in the mirror, I don't ever want to look like that again. To me, if I look like that again, I lose. I lose my right to be safe. I lose. If I look like that again, I lose and they have justification for doing what they want. 

So, my quest to lose weight might be somewhat vain but when you get to the foundation of it, it isn't vain. It is a psychological battle. 

And that brings me to the purpose of this blog post. It isn't to whine and throw a pity part of what I've experienced. The point of this post is to ask you all for help. Tell me what has worked for you in efforts to lose weight. I have friends on Twitter encouraging me to try Weight Watchers. What else? I love carbs. How can I cut them out? I'm a picky eater. How can I learn to try and like new foods, healthier foods. Such as cauliflower. I try to walk for an hour a night on my treadmill. Is that enough? What else can I do? How can I counter the weight increase for the increase of insulin from the pump?

I need all sorts of advice, tips and feedback so please leave it in the comments. Share this post with others so they can share their advice, tips and feedback.

I need to get back to my comfort zone if for no other reason than to have my mind back in a peaceful place. And the vain part of me also wants to be back in my comfort zone so I can wear a swimsuit again in December when my family returns to the Caribbean. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The lowest of low blood sugars

Low blood sugars happen. Low blood sugars are not fun. Sometimes they are easily manageable. Sometimes not so much. And sometimes a low blood sugar strikes and after you've recovered you're left to wonder how did that happen and how the heck did you manage to recover. Thankfully, those aren't often but then again just one occurrence is one too many. 

This past Saturday should have been a great one. It was opening day of college football for my team. Go Huskers! The plan was simple. Wake up, put on my game day gear, watch College Gameday on ESPN, do some laundry and then settle in and cheer my team on to victory. Saturday apparently didn't receive a copy of my plan for the day though because instead the following happened. 

I woke up and was groggy. Right away I knew my blood sugar was low. And then I panicked. I assumed I slept through my alarm clock. I started to think it was Saturday night. That I missed the Nebraska game. Or it was Sunday or even Monday. I had no clue. So, I tried to climb out of bed in order to get to the kitchen to test and have some juice. My body vetoed that decision. 

I barely pulled my head up from the pillow before it immediately dropped back down. I couldn't lift it. I tried to move my arm to my nightstand to at least get my phone and learn what time (and day) it was. I couldn't really move my arm. It just flailed in the air. My other arm was going numb under my stomach as I laid in bed. I attempted, unsuccessfully, to toss and turn in bed to get my body moving so I could get out.

In my attempts to determine the day and time, I grabbed my pump off my pj shorts. I had no success with that because I couldn't get it towards my face. So I gave up. And I tried to clip it back onto my shorts. No dice. If the survival of mankind was on me being able to clip my pump back on, mankind would no longer exist. I had absolutely no control of my muscles or body. 

And then the alarm clock on my phone went off. Success! I knew what day and time it was. It was only 8:30 on Saturday morning. With all the focus on my arm and hand I somehow managed to hit snooze on my phone and let out a sigh of relief. Eight minutes later it went off again. I focused with all my might and was able to actually grab my phone and drop it on my face before getting the alarm completely turned off. 

I was making progress. After laying in bed awhile longer I thought maybe I would have the strength to get out. No dice. I wasn't even able to shimmy to the edge of the bed. By this point of the morning I was starting to fade in and out of consciousness. Or I was going delirious. Either or. I'm not sure. I know at several points I just screamed as loud as I could. I screamed "HELP!" even though there was no one around to help me. I cried quite a bit as well because I was beginning to feel doomed. I knew what was wrong and what I needed to do but I couldn't do it. I started imagining that I started a group text with people but none of them could come help. One was the man I went out with the night before, one was a PR colleague who I rarely speak to in NYC and another lady I barely know on the south side through a local PR colleague.

Eventually I was able to roll my body out of my bed and onto the floor with a boisterous thud. It hurt like no other but that was the least of my concerns. I tried to pull myself up to my knees and lean on the bed to get onto my feet. Each time I attempted that, I collapsed back down onto the floor. So, I shimmied my body towards the wall. Maybe I'd have more success trying to cling to the wall. I had to get to the kitchen.

Somehow, at some point in time, I was able to cling to the wall. And slowly move my way towards the bedroom door. I wasn't able to walk like a normal person. My knees weren't bending. My legs felt like jell-o but were moving like sticks of wood. I got to the kitchen. And there was NO wall to get to cling to to get to the area where my glucose meter was. Crap!

At this point Rocky was whining to get out and scratching at the kennel floor. My heart broke. I informed him I loved him but needed to get sugar in me first. I tested my blood sugar. 41. What the heck?! I felt like I was hovering around 7. I've tested a 36 before and felt absolutely fine. Why was this 41 like a cement truck plowing over me? I carefully clung to the counter and moved my way to the fridge and grabbed two eight ounce cans of Coca-Cola. I slammed those suckers down my throat. And just stood there. 

Eventually, I was able to walk across the room without having to cling like body glue to anything to let Rocky out. I made my way back to my bedroom to grab my slippers and glasses and slowly returned to the kitchen and ate cereal straight out of the box. Although I still needed an assist from the wall, I made my way out to the living room and collapse on the sofa. I called my father crying and asked him to call me during halftime to remind me to check my blood sugar. He called every quarter just to be sure. 

The rest of the day was spent hovering near 300 which I knew would happen. I also had to change my infusion site which added to more stress because was I high from over-treating my low blood sugar (and more or less eating everything in sight) or was the infusion site bad? 

The day was made better by Nebraska winning their football game but that was basically the only highlight.