Sunday, December 30, 2007

Not What I Wanted for Christmas

548 days ago, I gave birth to my beautiful and wonderful firstborn son, James.

Since then, I have been temporarily infertile, in the state known as "lactational amenorrhea." It has been such a blessing to have a break from old Aunt Flo.

But I am cranky. I am fatigued. I am pessimistic. I am irritable. I am breaking out. I am having the kind of stomach cramps that make you question everything you've consumed in the past 48 hours. And my blood sugars have been rising for the last couple of days, a phenomenon that I couldn't explain until I put 2 and 2 together and got 548.

My cycle-free days are numbered. PMS, here I come!

Now, where did I put the chocolate?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Blame Game

Yesterday, we held a successful Christmas Day Event at our house for the first time. Ben and I have been together for seven Christmases now, but we have always been off somewhere else for The Big Day. This year we decided we couldn't go anywhere without our stress levels soaring and without pain and suffering on our part and for The Boy. So we let family come to us. And we had such a great time!

But I sort of forgot about the stress that comes along with hosting and with family gatherings. Ben and I had a great time preparing a delicious comfort-foods dinner (including meatloaf, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots and green beans, and homemade rolls), but we did have to run around the kitchen all Iron-Chef-like for a bit.

And there's the mental stress of trying to avoid overindulging, of knowing that for most people, another scoop of potatoes is no big deal, but I just can't let myself without paying the price, and of having to deal with how unfair that feels sometimes. There's also the emotional burden of worrying about inter-family relations. Even if everyone does get along (which they did), that doesn't mean I don't worry about it constantly! And there's the self-loathing that I feel every time I think about how clean my house is versus how clean I think it should be. And...the list just goes on.

But anyway. So yesterday my blood sugars were crazy. I had THREE readings in the 280s...THREE in one day! This never happens to me. I also had two lows, but that's more "normal" for me. And I don't feel as much guilt over low blood sugar, anyway, because it's more "acceptable" to me to have lows than highs.

I had such a great time yesterday with my family, with the babies. James got great presents and was really happy and excited, and I really enjoyed some of the things I got. (I've been wanting Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for awhile now....and James' Grandma Jane got me some lovely comfy PJs and a snuggly blanket that I adore.) But I also felt sort of crappy physically through all those ups and downs.

And then today, things were better...but not all the way better. I had ONE BITE of spice cake this afternoon. My blood sugar was 111, had been hanging around there for several hours, and we were heading out the door to go to the mall. (Side note: James LOVES escalators.) So I didn't want to have my normal mid-afternoon blood sugar dip turn into a crazy low. But then that one bite upped my reading to 186 within 30 minutes. D'oh! And I thought....

Oh, for stupid. Why did I eat that cake?

I really didn't want to even write down my pattern for the day in my logbook. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought about how much I feel like my blood sugars are under my control, aka MY FAULT, when really some things just have to be let go. Sure, it would've helped if I hadn't had that tiny slice of cake. But then again....if I hadn't had it, I might've been low. In fact, I probably would have been low, since that's been my pattern lately. I was just trying to work out the current pattern, but instead got surprised by a new stress-induced holiday pattern.

Why was it so easy for me to let myself off the hook for the stress and the highs on Christmas Day, but then blame myself for everything the day after?

Don't get me wrong. I think that, ideally, we should all try to take responsibility for our own health and for keeping ourselves healthy. But I think that can backfire too, especially with a chronic disease like diabetes. Sometimes I feel so much self-doubt and self-recrimination about my blood sugars, but also, there are just so many variables that go into a day's worth of blood sugars, and there are quite a few that I have to ultimately let go of and just say, I did the best I could. 180 isn't really all that bad, at least I checked it within 30 minutes and was aware that something was going on. At least it wasn't super-high like yesterday. At least I'm in good control on average even if I have crappy days and occasionally don't make perfect decisions. I'm doing well, and it's okay.

That's what I'm telling myself today, anyway.

Monday, December 24, 2007

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

And all through the house, there was a little boy who loved Christmas trees and presents, even though he didn't know what the presents were supposed to do.

Okay, maybe there's one present he's not too sure about yet...

We've been really busy this last week with all of our Christmas tree fascination and with having my sister and her son here to visit. My dad got here tonight and we had a great Christmas Eve Cassoulet--perhaps a tradition in the making?

And now I'm off to bed and visions of sugarplums. Not that I can eat them, but you know, I can dream!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pieces of the Puzzle

For the last 2 months or so, I've been working pretty steadily. Before that, it was patchy, here-and-there stuff that I couldn't really count on to bring in more cash than I had to use to pay the babysitter. But since October rolled around, I've gotten in some pretty good hours. I've made enough money to cover our groceries for the month!

And it makes me feel so good, so competent, so confident in my post-baby self. I think we all really need something like that, because I don't think I'm the only one who wondered what the heck happened to my ability to accomplish anything outside of The Baby Realm since my child was born. For the last 17 months or so, it has been an uphill struggle just to get the dishes and laundry done. Many days, we fall far short of our goals. And, I have to admit, I get pretty frustrated when I don't see this happening at anyone else's house.

But then I start thinking. First I remember that I don't necessarily see the inner workings of other people's houses. Then I remember that my house isn't what's important anyway, although it's hard to think that dishes don't matter when you're eating oatmeal out of a tea cup with a measuring spoon.

And then I remember that those other moms? They don't have diabetes. And I really think that my diabetes is key to how tired I am so often. I am learning not to underestimate the impact of a crazy blood sugar day on the entire rest of my life. So I do other diabetics manage this juggling act, with kids and/or with jobs and/or with all the thousands of things that can take up our time and sap our energy? When you have a severe low and just need to sleep it off but you have a feisty toddler who wants to play on the playground all day long (or a different obligation you must fulfill)...and when this kind of thing* happens several times a week...what do you do?

I'm learning my options. I'm coping better every day. I really think it helps me a lot personally to face the fact that my diabetes affects how I feel to such a large extent. I know new moms are tired. And I know diabetics can experience some pretty strong fatigue. I just never put two and two together before and realized that maybe what I was feeling was actually a different brand of tired than other people experienced.

That being said, I don't mean to sound like I think this will be every diabetic's experience...or like non-diabetics have it easy. I know that's not how it works. I guess, for me, it's just a piece of the puzzle that's recently fallen into place. It's a way to remind myself to go easy on myself.

And since, in response to my occasional depressive posts, I've gotten several comments and emails saying I should do just that--thank you for the advice. You're awfully smart.

*Please note that I didn't say this exact thing happens so frequently...there are many variations of diabetic conundrums I run into, regularly.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Day After

Today is a better day. I'm not all better, but it's been a better day than yesterday, at least.

I'm still just reminding myself that every day that I get to wake up and live this blessed life is a good day.

Thanks for your words of encouragement. =)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Miss Mary Sunshine

I'm raining on my own parade today. I've been reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott lately, and she says we need to write down our personal bad feelings, the grief, the jealousy, etc, in order to move on to new, hopefully better, things. So here goes.

Lately I have just felt so down in the dumps. So crappy and fatigued and lonely and weak and bored and frustrated and did I mention crappy? Like crappy as in ill and bad but also crappy as in full of crap. I'm ready for a personal pity party, but I'm also just sick of my own whinyness.

My blood sugars have been sort of roller coastering lately, despite my best efforts to keep them steady. My weight hasn't dropped AT ALL in the past year or more even though I've been steadily exercising and working on decreasing the amount of food I eat. If anything, this last week I've felt heavier. My skin is constantly mad at me since I got pregnant two years ago (although I'm glad to hear that a lot of that may be due to my diabetes, so thanks, Amylia). I'm pretty much exhausted All The Time. I'm tired of living in this tired body, I'm tired of living in this crowded messy house with all this crap, I'm tired of hearing myself complain and I'm tired of having (almost) no one else to complain to. I'm also SO tired of people judging me for the things they see without having any idea about what goes on behind the scenes. (I have a feeling this could be pretty common for diabetics, although I haven't talked about it with any others yet.)

I'm feeling profoundly sad for myself because I don't have a lot of family and friends around here to help out and I feel like there is just no one to help out the way I need help. I am desperate for some help but...from who? It's not like we have the money to hire people right now either. Another reason to be'd be so much easier to take care of myself if we had more money right now.

Anyway. I can think of a million more things to complain about, but at the same time, like I said, I'm tired of hearing myself complain. Hopefully tomorrow I can focus on the positives again. I think I do a pretty good job most days. I'm just in a funk right now. Okay, honestly, I'm in a funk lately. Theoretically, I know it's directly linked to my sleep deprivation, but it's still hard to get through.

Thanks for listening, Donna. You're probably the only one who reads this right now, but hey, even one friend gained makes it worth it! See, there I am, working on being positive again.

See you tomorrow...when hopefully the sun will come out again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Quick update on the Holiday Plan far I've not exactly done stellar with the exercise this season. I was going to do 30 minutes most days but there have definitely been quite a few I've missed in the last 2 weeks...probably about half of the days I was going to exercise, I had to work instead. And I've been insanely exhausted from James' lack of sleep even though things have gotten dramatically better in that department. It's like it didn't really hit me until the storm had passed. Weird. I've also been congested off-and-on, and had a couple of days of incredibly crazy lows and highs that really made me want to sleep it off...but I couldn't...see above for the reason.

A couple of days ago, I had a random blood sugar of 27. TWENTY-SEVEN. It was in the middle of the afternoon, too, which is weird because I almost never get lower than the 40s, and if I do, it's usually in the night, when my body doesn't wake me up as early as I would notice it when I was awake. But this one hit me out of nowhere and then the next day I woke up to a 278, the highest my blood sugar's been in...months? I know it's not *that* high compared to some other people's highs, but I felt like Complete Crap for a good couple of days after that roller coaster ride.

But anyway. Just making excuses again, I suppose...I didn't exercise like I wanted to, but I've been doing well with the portion sizes of meals and not having seconds and catching MOST lows early and not having to eat so darn much just to keep my sugars up in normal range.

So, onward we go towards Christmas. I don't know if it will get better or worse, but today I took a 45-minute walk and tonight I'm going to do my new exercise video. I'm still hoping for the best, which would be losing weight rather than gaining it, but I'd be happy to maintain until the holiday season is over.

Here's hoping everyone else's plans are going more smoothly than my own have so far!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Short History of Blogging and Me

I know, I've been slacking off on the posting. It's just that every day I think of something to write about, and then, by the time I get around to's gone.
So today I thought I'd let you know a little more about me, since my expressive and creative juices are running dry. This blog has only been up for about a month, but I am not *that* new to the blogosphere. I've been running what I call a "family blog" since September of last year, which chronicles our life since we moved to North Carolina. This started out as a way to keep in touch with family and to share pictures easily, but then, slowly but surely, I started to come out of my New Mommy Fog and actually write posts that weren't just captions. And I really liked it. So now I'm posting a lot more over there, and I even took part in NaBloPoMo this year!
It's called James and the Giant Moose, because my son's name is James, and because long before his existence, my husband and I dreamed about owning a big hound dog named Moose. And someday we will...but since the baby came first, that will have to wait a bit!
Before I started that, I had a xanga account for about a year. It was pretty aimless, and I just treated it like a personal diary, complaining about everything and spilling my brains into the Internet. But it served me well, because during that year, I noticed that my friends became a lot more distant, and I was lonely, so it was nice to have some place to get out all my thoughts. Since I'm an extrovert, I need to express myself to figure out exactly what I'm trying to express...
(Oh, and I had just gotten married when I started that blog, so that probably explains the distant friends problem, at least to some degree.)
And then I realized how much I needed to connect with other diabetics and re-educate myself. And here we are today!
I know that wasn't the most dazzling post ever, but maybe you'd like to check out my other blog, and get to know me a little bit better, as I am just starting out over here. And I promise to continue blogging here frequently. But mostly I'm here to read your blogs and connect with YOU anyway. So happy blogging!