Easy Flow Chart for High BG Management

This is PERFECT!! Show this to those people, in- and outside the medical field, who think managing diabetes is just a matter of following a particular method…
In case you need to print it out and show it to someone who might not understand just how incredibly easy it is to manage diabetes on a daily basis. (I can’t even type it without laughing.) I…

Source: Easy Flow Chart for High BG Management

dear Younger Me

I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by! It won’t be long til “D Day” and some of the kids are already asking me what I want to do for it.

As usual, I say that I’d rather just pretend it’s not here, but that never flies with them.

I dunno why getting older is such a thorn in my side. I mean, I know we all hate that feeling of getting older, not looking or feeling as good as we used to, seeing our children grow up before our eyes. Maybe it’s hard-wired into our natures to regret the passing of time?

But then again, I’m not totally against it. As I’ve gathered more years to myself, I have realized that all the time I spent wishing I was older, “I can’t wait”-ing for my first-born to walk/talk/whatever…what a foolish endeavor!

How awesome would it be to actually be able to go back in time to our younger selves and give them a head’s up?
Advice-for-my-younger-self
First, I’d tell Younger Me to learn patience. Don’t be so eager or insistent. Just let things happen, be prepared for whatever that is and enjoy each moment.
chill out!
Then I’d tell Her to take better care of her health. Don’t see the diabetes as a curse or an enemy. Just accept it as part of the plan God has for you, then do all you can to be healthy. Don’t fall into that rebelliousness that makes you say, “Who cares?! I’m going to eat what I want, I’m going to ignore my blood sugars.” I’d try to impress upon Her how mad she will be once she’s older and realizes she could have done so much better. I’d tell her despite the non-athletic nature of her parents and family to be active. To learn the benefits of exercise and how to do it regularly. Oh, Younger Me, it sure would have made these days and our future feel a lot better if only you had learned that.

Get into the habit of reading your Bible. Maybe then we won’t have such a sporadic study time. Learn to pray. Yes, I know. You weren’t really taught that nor will you find a really good resource for this in your church or family. Dig into scripture yourself. Ask people who seem to have a great prayer life. Maybe they don’t know you need to be taught.

Granted, since I was able to make it to the altar with my virginity intact (yes, I’m serious) obviously we did a fair job of guarding our purity. But trust me, there will be opportunities when you can still let things go too far. Don’t think only “the home plate” is sex. All those other bases count, too. Let me tell you that years down the road, IF you attempt to “home base” now, the aftermath could be catastrophic. Even though you waited for marriage, there will be a long, rough road ahead for you sexually, but don’t give up. Trust me…it will be worth it. Don’t give up.
dear younger self

Don’t give up. Nope. Do NOT give up. Put that on a loop in your head. You will need to hear it OFTEN.

Don’t buy the fairy tale that everything will be better once you’re married. Your life is tough at home, I know, you feel ignored and discounted. You feel like your opinions don’t matter, your preferences are wrong, your ideas are stupid. But getting married won’t change that. Even though that boy you finally marry will be your biggest supporter in the years ahead, it won’t change the fact that your family makes you feel worthless. Learn to find your own self worth. Find it not only in Jesus, but in your abilities and strengths. Don’t throw those away just because they are not affirmed by your parents.
your value
And then, when That Boy comes along who will fall for you immediately, don’t expect him to cure all your ills. Don’t expect that he can mend all the wounds you’ve accumulated to your heart over the years. Just love him better.

As for me, I regret the wasted time being mad at him for not “fixing” it all. You won’t realize that’s what you’re expecting, but it is. Your self worth will get so damaged growing up the way we did. Try and learn to lean on Jesus during those times. Don’t let the devil tell you lies about yourself. I know, I KNOW. It’s hard to do this as a child on your own, but try. Try harder than I did. Present Me is still fighting to deal with all the scars left by never feeling worthy.

Don’t let the betrayals of those you think are your real friends keep you from ever reaching out again. Maybe I should instead tell you to not expect everyone to be as deeply invested in the relationship as you are. Don’t toss your whole self into a friendship without measuring the other person’s dedication. Then, just be as good a friend as you can without expecting anything in return. That way, when they do hurt you, and they will, you won’t be quite as crushed. You won’t decide to lock everyone out and never find that ‘best friend’ you have always wanted.
some will never see you as good enough
I don’t think I’d have to say “Don’t worry about pleasing people.” because I don’t think we have a problem with that. I really need to ask one of my friends and see if that’s accurate. I mean, I don’t like letting people down once I’ve committed to something, but jumping through hoops just to make someone like me? I just don’t do that. But I think I will ask (and if any of the few who would be considered my friends are reading here, shoot, even if you THINK I’m your friend, chime in. send me a message or comment on this post!) …just to see if I’m anywhere close to right. I’m pretty sure that we don’t have to worry about being people pleasers.

Good job, Younger Me. You got one right!!
you're probably doing something right
So what other things would I tell my younger self, the Younger Me? I dunno… but it’s something to ponder.

What would you tell YOUR younger self if you could?

Ecclesiastes 4:13“Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice.”

step into my shoes …

I often struggle to explain my “medical stuff” to people. Not that I go around dumping the whole morbid story on everyone I meet. But for those I am around often, they kinda need to know I have diabetes. For others, it just comes up in conversation.
Type 1 Diabetes

I don’t mind telling people and I appreciate folks who want to know and will allow me to educate them about diabetes. But it can be really hard to explain. It’s one of those things you can’t actually understand unless you’ve dealt with it. Sometimes it just takes having someone who knows explain it to them. Other people just won’t ever understand because they don’t have the ability to sympathize or put themselves in someone else’s shoes.
education
There are also the times you have to go to a new doctor. Then dumping the whole mess is pretty crucial, but there’s no real rhyme or reason to it so it comes out a big, jumbled pile of bits and pieces of my medical history. I start telling them one thing that relates to the reason I have come to them in the first place (ie: a sinus infection, etc) then they’ll ask another question or it will lead to needing to explain background. It’s just hard to relate 40-plus years of medical history in a few minutes, no matter how much training the “doctor” has, it just doesn’t happen quickly or easily.

    Let me stick an aside in here for anyone who happens to read this and has an inkling of what this is like, if you have a good way of doing this, could you please share? I’ve thought of trying to list everything on paper, but it’s not easy, especially at this point when I can’t even remember many of the doctors’ names or what they tested or diagnosed. I can’t remember what year things happened in unless it was major like the 2 weeks in the hospital with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome in 1994. That I can remember since I spent another 2 years recovering from it. But the many, MANY times I’ve been to an allergist or ENT for ear and sinus infections and the various tests they ran and treatments they prescribed? Um, no. Sorry. My mind can’t hang onto that much stuff!

So yeah, in case I’ve never said before, I hate going to new doctors. I feel like I need a moving van to haul all my medical ‘baggage’ into the exam room. I have felt like the doctor was thinking, “What the heck? How many different diseases or medical procedures can one person have?” or “She has GOT to be making this up.” or “This lady and her ton of medical problems are more than I want to deal with.” Now, perhaps NO doctor has ever had those thoughts about me, however, if I were a betting person, I’d bet you that some of them did.
Insulin
Does that make me paranoid? Maybe, but here’s the thing that you won’t be able to understand if you don’t have a chronic auto-immune disease…going to a doctor, and I’m talking a general practitioner not a specialist, with more than a couple different complaints or health issues is like being an alien. Many doctors don’t want to deal with you. You are too complicated. Others immediately decide that you are somehow non-compliant, in other words, you’re not doing all you can to take care of yourself. You aren’t “trying hard enough”.

For instance, this new doc I went to see this week… well, she’s an ARNP but I really liked her. My mom and my youngest son had recommended her to me because she was so thorough and took her time with them. She did the same with me, but because I was there for a persistent cough, she started with that then started looking through the lab work I had in August. She was telling me everything looked good and asking me if I was on any meds for cholesterol since those labs were good, etc.. then she flipped a page and asked me if I was taking Metformin. Of course, I was puzzled about why she’d ask me if I was taking an oral medication for Type 2 diabetes when I’m on insulin and have Type 1 diabetes. I said no, thinking in the back of my mind that maybe there’s some other use for Metformin that she was going to suggest. Then she mentioned that I should be on it to help with my sugars. That’s when it dawned on me that she didn’t realize so I said, “That’s why I take insulin.”
real bad. really?
She flipped another couple pages and then began to profusely apologize. She is a really great, down-to-earth person who has a thick “southern” accent and talks really fast because, or so it seemed to me, her mind is going so fast her mouth can’t quite keep up. *smile* She made a “total fail” comment and just kept apologizing til I said, “Don’t worry about it. I come with a lot of baggage to go through.” and she said, “Well I sure appreciate all the grace you are giving me.”

However, when she then backed up to my lab work and began to retract all the “good job” comments she’d made to me just seconds ago, I felt myself getting really frustrated. And don’t get me wrong, I STILL really like this lady. I think she’s on the right track, is very thorough and wants to help me feel better and be healthier. But this is one of those things that has always just ticked me off so bad. Where she’d thought I had good lab results because they were all within normal range like for cholesterol and blood pressure and such…those were “normal people” parameters. Not diabetic ones. No, a diabetic has to have even lower levels, even better “scores” on these tests.

Yes, I have to test my blood sugar multiple times a day. I have to take shots and count every carbohydrate that I put in my mouth and dose medication for them. I can deal with that. But tell me that I have to have a cholesterol level that is 10-30 points lower than everyone else? That runs all over me and frustrates me more than the unfairness of my daily must-do’s to live.
math-bolus
Is that weird? Am I the only T1D who gets madder than a wet hen about this kind of thing? I dunno, but I left there feeling so conflicted.

This doc is sending me to an allergist she trusts to reevaluate my allergies and asthma issues. She suggested I see my chiropractor to help with the tightness (that she noticed while feeling my lymph nodes, by the way) in my neck and shoulders. She also suggested a $60/hour massage therapist…not gonna be affording that any time soon. When she looked at my feet, which many doctors don’t even do, she got pretty disturbed and told me I needed to wear tennis shoes and not my comfy Chacos and that I needed to go to a podiatrist and “get that skin off there”. I didn’t tell her that what she was seeing was much better than normal! My feet are always really dry with thick callouses and crevasses/folds. And I also didn’t tell her I’ve worn nothing but my Chacos all summer long and I’m not sure what I’ll wear when it gets too cold for them because they are THE MOST comfy shoes I’ve had in years! I’ve worn them hiking through the woods and in the river while kayaking. They are my favorites and I’m not giving them up for some less-than-comfy tennis shoes. So there.

Actually, her response to my diabetes was pretty much the usual for a GP who doesn’t deal solely with diabetics. The idea that all my labs and sugars should be perfect and that I should always maintain a perfect A1c is unrealistic at best and I’ll let her in on that when I go back in two weeks. Is it possible to attain perfect numbers? Yes, it is. Is it feasible to maintain them always? Nope.
perfect bg
Okay, so this has been a long rambly post about how I feel living my life with type 1 diabetes and all its lovely friends…Graves Disease, Neuropathy, Kidney Damage, Early Cataracts, Retina Degeneration. Those are the just a few of the ones who have already showed up to the party.

I don’t want pity. But understanding? That I will take with gusto and gratitude.

Thanks.

recouping, but slowly…

I am used to being sick. I mean, I do have type 1 diabetes. That is a moment-to-moment adventure of a roller coaster ride way to live. But I do it. I am not bitter about having to do it. God gave this to me for some reason that is meant to glorify Him, so it’s all good. Hear me when I say that I do not believe I am cursed by having this disease.

This isn’t about diabetes, though. I have been dealing with a massive, monstrous sinus infection and asthma flare for over a month now. I’M TIRED of it!! Argh!

After FINALLY getting the doctor to give me a Rocephin shot and a different oral antibiotic, I at last started to get over the horrendous throat and ear pain I’d dealt with for over a week, but it took much longer to get over this mess…and I’m still trying to do that. I have the (apparently) obligatory lingering hacking cough hanging on.

For clarity, I was put on blood pressure medicine at least 10 years ago. Not because I had high blood pressure. Not by “normal people” standards. You see, if you are a diabetic the standard limits and tables for determining an acceptable blood pressure (or cholesterol or ANYthing else) do not apply. No, what would be an acceptable bp level for you will be considered much too high for me. In order to protect my kidneys, when my bp was within “acceptable” levels for you, I was put on the meds. T1D’s are much more susceptible to kidney disease and failure, so protecting them while they’re still healthy is a big deal. However, the bp medicine they put me on, an ACE inhibitor, a very mainstream one, over about a 7-year period caused an awful hacking cough to develop. Ever since then, I’ve had problems with my lungs. *sigh*

I was taken off that medicine and put on a different type of bp med… this happened over and over. A couple of times, because I get tired of trying to keep up with all the different medicines I’ve been on AND because the names of the drugs are changed, after going to a new doctor, I have been put back on an ACE inhibitor…and shortly thereafter, the coughing would resume.

Realize this isn’t your garden-variety coughing I’m talking about. This is hacking til you can’t breathe then you choke and throw up type of coughing. I was sent to an allergist at one point who did a lot of tests and told me (of course) that I was allergic to a ton of things and diagnosed me with asthma.

I’ve said for years that I have asthma, but I don’t really wheeze. I cough my brains &/or lungs out unless I get completely out of breath, THEN the sort-of wheezing starts, but it’s more of a squeal when I try to inhale. Yeah, I do EVERYthing differently. Ha ha…

And so, that’s where I am right now. I have FINALLY gotten well enough to attempt riding my bike again. I have been trying to build up for the past week and a half. I could only do a few miles the first time before I just gave out. The next time, I got in about 9 miles. Then 12, then 14… I had a really bad (stubborn) low blood sugar once and had to wait for Hubby to ride back and come get me in the truck (more on that in another post…it was a really weird experience)

So this past Friday, Hubby and I went out on our own and I was able to get 17 miles in without dying. (ha!) Then on Sunday afternoon, between attending/working as altar counselors both services at church, eating lunch and going back at 6 pm for a meeting, I was able to do 20 miles. Granted, I almost hawked up a lung doing it, but I did it.

It was nice to even FEEL like working hard to get those miles in. Praise God! But now I’m getting concerned about my stinking lungs. I’m now on amlodipine, a ccb drug (calcium channel blocker) that helps widen blood vessels to lower blood pressure. It’s one of the few blood pressure meds that don’t have coughing as a side effect, and if I take it at night, it doesn’t seem to bother me at all, thank God, because now that I’ve had to take these things for so long, I can’t seem to go off them without my blood pressure going up to what is considered high for even “normal” people. Great. 😦

I realized last week that I’d not been taking a medicine for both allergies and asthma. I know, I KNOW!! Shame on me. But it’s hard to keep up with them all. I’d run out just before Hubby and I left for his last century ride in Elizabethtown and in the chaos of packing (we took puppy with) and making sure we knew where we were going, packing all his cycling paraphernalia, gassing the truck, making a hotel reservation, etc.. I just forgot about it by the time we got back. That and my blood pressure medicine are the only ones I take at night and *blush* I don’t take my bp med consistently (don’t judge…I DO keep an eye on my bp, I just don’t take it every night… more like about 3-4 times a week or so) and so, after realizing the cough was just not getting better, it dawned on me that I wasn’t taking the montelukast (Singulair), I went right out and picked it up. But it’s not like a “rescue” inhaler or whatever, it doesn’t work immediately. Hopefully I’ve learned another lesson about sticking with one of my meds (like the Wellbutrin!) and will stay on top of it better now that I’ve proven how much it helps.

Speaking of Wellbutrin, did I report that I am now getting the brand name (not the generic bupropion) FOR FREE??!!! I had to go back and see the ARNP at the place I’d first gone to for talk therapy so I could continue getting the prescription (hassle since I had to drive almost 50 miles to get there, but…) When I walked into the room the first thing she said was she’d just learned about a program for people with commercial insurance policies that would help pay for the brand name! I had told her how way back years ago when I’d first been put on Wellbutrin (before it became a generic) it worked very well for me, then once the generic came out (and of course, I had to use it because of insurance/cost!) I didn’t feel like it worked as well for me. I had been taking the generic ever since she put me back on it a few months ago at a higher dose, but in generic. Every time I picked up the prescription (which still cost me $30 each time!) it would be a different brand. Nice, when it seems that how effective it was had to do with the “other” ingredients used. We had looked into getting the brand, but it was going to cost me over $200 each month and with another 5-7 prescriptions to buy just for me each month, plus insulin pump supplies?? No way. We just couldn’t do that, so I had to stick with generic.

She gave me a number to call and sent in my info. Later that same day the company called me to verify all the info and in about 3 days, I had a bottle of brand name Wellbutrin XL with no out of pocket cost!! Talk about a blessing!! I haven’t noticed a huge difference, but it will be SO nice not to worry that this different brand generic each month is going to cause a problem. (it has in the past) After realizing how much Wellbutrin helps me, even when I don’t feel like it is/was, I won’t try to go off it again. And now, same goes for the Singulair/montelukast. If it keeps me from having this awful coughing stuff, I’ll make sure to stay on it.

And yeah, I’ll just pray God will spare me the side effects. *bleh*

Okay, then, I guess that’s about it. I will leave you with this though…some notes from a recent sermon:::

“The Bible is like an apple tree. You have to shake it (READ!) to get the fruit to fall!”

under pressure…

Well, it seems I can’t win for losing on the blood pressure front.  If you’ve been keeping up with my medical stuff, you’ll know that I was put on blood pressure medication about 15 years ago as a protective measure for my kidneys.  I did not have high blood pressure at that time and the dose of medicine they put me on was very low.

I took that (an ACE inhibitor) for about 7 years when I started having this horrific cough.  It came on slowly, but developed into this awful tickle in my chest that would either be made worse by laughing (of all things, right?!) or would just progress on its own until I was doubled-up, trying in vain to draw a breath without that squeezing in my chest making me cough violently.

Of course, at first I didn’t realize that one of my meds was causing the cough and thought I must have some kind of weird cold or bronchial thing.  Finally though, the doctors figured it out and took me off the medicine.  The cough got better almost immediately, but I was left with an asthmatic-like reaction to getting tickled (ie: laughing a lot) or getting a mild chest cold.  I would start coughing like a two-pack-a-day smoker and need an inhaler to even start to calm it down.

Now, however, the inhalers don’t seem to help at all.  I was eventually put on a different blood pressure medicine a year after the first diagnosis of the ACE-induced cough and seemed to do fine with it until recently.  With insurance being the nightmare it is, I had to change meds because they wouldn’t cover what I’d been on.  That led to being inadvertently put on a similar medicine and in a few months, the cough was back, but it started when I had an awful flu so I didn’t make the connection til a month after the flu had gone.

Talk about being ticked.  I was and am!!  My endo just took me off any bp meds altogether and told me to watch and make sure my bp didn’t get over 140/70.  Within a week, I was having 185/90 bp’s so he put me on Amlodopine.  Guess what?  That is making me cough too.

I am infuriated and just don’t know what to do.  I mean, first of all, I’m a little ticked that they put me on this crap when I didn’t even have bp issues, ya know?  Even though I realize that’s kinda the protocol, still…  It’s diminished my quality of life, ya know?  And I don’t need meds to do that.  I have a non-functioning pancreas that’s been doing that just fine for decades now.  Ugh.

There’s also the deal where, after having that awful rash in my armpits for 3/4 of last year finally getting to the bottom of that (took 5 doctors who couldn’t dx it to get the one who finally did:  contact dermatitis, of all things?!) and now I seem to be a lot more allergic to MANY things that didn’t bother me before.  Or at least, didn’t irritate my lungs… like fabric softeners and body sprays or heavy perfumes.  So now, not only does my skin react quite negatively to certain things, but strong chemical odors make me cough my lungs out too.

That doesn’t go well with the bp meds making them so reactive too.  UGH!

I stopped taking the Amlodopine about 3 days ago but the cough isn’t hugely improved.  I might try it again, just to see.  I really think that my lungs are just so irritated now that any little thing makes them flare up, ya know?  So I can’t tell if it is actually the medication or other things making me cough.  More than likely, I’m afraid, it is both.

I have always dealt with getting head-achy when coming in close proximity with “loud” chemical odors… someone who can’t set perfume application limits, the laundry aisle at the grocery or the aerosol aisle in the auto parts place.  But now it’s not just headaches, it’s problems breathing.

*sigh*
I sure never realized what an awful problem something like this can be.  I have no clue how to control blood pressure since I really have a pretty decent diet, ya know?  I am gong to do some research and see what I can find out, though.  I am guessing more exercise would be a good start.

Sheesh… and today is SO not a good day to start that since The Monthly arrived last night and I am cramping horribly today.

Hubby had a doctor appointment today and found out his cholesterol is way down and his blood pressure is doing good.  He is off the cholesterol meds because they just made him swell and feel bad, but he does take a couple different bp medications.  His vitamin D was low, so he’s gotta start back on that.  His smart-aleck doctor suggested maybe he ride his bike naked to help with the vitamin D deficiency, adding that it might not help with his criminal record.  *sheesh*  (this is the arrogant jerk-wad doctor that I refuse to see anymore.  he and Hubby get along fine somehow—I don’t get it, but whatever!)   Anyhow, Hubbs called to give me the update on all that and told me to be ready at 6 o’clock and we’d go out and do something.

My first stop will be to pick up some progesterone cream!!  I hope and pray it will help with the cramps again.  I’m too old to be balled up in the bed having period cramps, right?

In other news, I cancelled my appointment with the therapist today because I felt so awful.  I rescheduled it to next Wednesday.  Honestly, I didn’t feel like I had anything to really tell her this week anyhow.  Not sure if that’s a good sign or a bad one.  Does it mean I’m becoming better able to process stuff by myself or is it part of the isolation process again?  I really just don’t know.

Guess we’ll find out next week, huh?  Ha!

Proverbs 4:23Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

a stinky little story

Once upon a time, many years ago, I was a little girl.  Yes, I know, hard to imagine, right?  Just play along….

I was perhaps 11 or 12 years old.  My sister would have been 7 or 8 at this time, but that doesn’t matter because in this story, she was at Mamaw’s house anyhow.

So back to me.  This was back in the day of the stereo.  If you were born after 1990, you have no clue what this is.  Go google it.  But anyhow, I had a stereo and I usually kept the radio playing at night.  Not loud, but softly because it helped me sleep.  I had my own room with these heavy thermal drapes on the two windows, which would help block out the street lamp that was just outside one of them.  We didn’t live on a street, we lived in the woods actually, so we just called it a night light, but it was one of those huge bulbs up on a pole that came on at dusk and went off at dawn.  That window was right behind my stereo and at night, I would draw the curtains almost closed so that only a thin shaft of light could come into the room and I wasn’t in total darkness.

This is important, trust me.

During this time, my mother had a ceramic shop in the basement.  You might not know what this is either if you are a post-1990 model person.  You can google that too if you want, but as you might have guessed, it was a shop where people could buy and paint ceramic chachkies.  It was all the craze in the 80’s.  Often Mom would spend hours upon hours down there because she not only sold the ceramics, paints and brushes, she also poured and dried her own pieces.  She was big-time into it.

She also had this thing…she couldn’t bear for someone’s eyes to be poorly painted.  Not their personal, real eyes, but the eyes on the various and abundant so-called life-like pieces of ceramic she sold.  We had Indians and cartoon people, Smurfs and all sorts of animals… rabbits, tigers, bears, beagles… you name it.  A lot of times people would just ask Mom to paint the eyes for them.  The type of people who usually did this were those who were too lazy or afraid to try doing it themselves, and granted, Mom liked doing it. But I suspect there were a few who knew that after everyone had gone home, Mom would go around and “fix” eyes on all the pieces left behind.  I think they either figured why bother if she was gonna re-do them anyhow, or they wanted to humor her.  I honestly don’t know.  It makes me laugh now to think about it, but I wonder how many were insulted by her doing that or perhaps so shocked at how well they had done on those eyes after they looked so awful last week.  Bahaha!

So anyway, that’s where Mom was on the night in question.  Dad had long ago stopped trying to get her to go to bed before the early a.m. and he had to work, ya know, so he’d just go on to bed without her.

Sometime before she finally came up to bed, I heard him out in the front yard making a horrific noise.  My dad is not like normal people.  SERiously!  There are SO many ways that could apply, but in this instance what I mean is that when most people get an upset stomach, they would go to the bathroom and do their get-sick thing.  But my dad?  Nope.  He goes out in the front yard.  Why?  I have no clue.  Maybe he didn’t want Mom to hear him?  Maybe he didn’t want me to hear him?  Possibly, but if that were the case, he probably should have shut the front door behind him then only the light-sleeping neighbors may have been awakened, but as it was, he left the front door open while he was ralphing all over the great, big, unsuspecting world.

So, in a bit, he must have come in, locked the front door back (because we are BIG door-lockers in my family—you don’t want any criminals getting in, do ya?) and went back to bed…and that’s where we were that fated night.  Like I said, my sister was at Mamaw’s so she missed the whole debacle, but me?  I was RIGHT THERE in the middle of the whole thing.

Actually, the “whole thing” came to me.

I think it must have been around 3 a.m. when an odd sound woke me up.  Like I said, I slept with my radio playing but unless the station went out or they played one of those god-awful “test of the emergency broadcast system” things, it never woke me up so I listened.  It was a kind of scratching sound and I couldn’t tell exactly where it was coming from.

I sat up and looked around the dimly lit room as best I could and shortly, I saw something move in the floor near the edge of my bed.

Oh yeah.  This sleepy head was ALL wide-and-awake now, you betcha!  I looked and looked, but had lost sight of whatever it was.

So remember that window by the night light and that shaft of light that fell into my room?  Well, about that time, “whatever it was” walked through that shaft and right under my bed…and I saw, quite clearly what was in my room.

IT WAS A SKUNK!!!!   AND IT HAD JUST GONE UNDER MY BED, PEOPLE!!!!!

I am SO not kidding!!  There was a real, live skunk wandering around in my room!  By this time, i had started hollering at mom down the hall. Not screaming or anything, just calling out to her.  That part of the house was layed out like this::  (be kind now, I’m no draftsman, obviously!)

So Mom and Dad’s room was basically at the end of the hallway from mine.  I knew there was no way that Dad would ever wake up, so I didn’t even try him.  Finally Mom came plodding down the hallway.  I knew she hadn’t been in bed long, but also knew she’d come because, love her heart, she always did…with my diabetes and my sister’s epilepsy, she never knew what might be wrong if one of us called out, so I hated to wake her.  But I knew we HAD to do something to get Mr. Skunk OUT of my room!!  At that time, yes, I had no concept or concern for the rest of the house, I just wanted that thing out of my room!

When Mom got close to my room, I said, “Mom, don’t come in here, just reach in and turn on the light.”  I remember being fairly calm and I have no clue why or how I was, but I just knew that I HAD to keep her from walking into the room.  I’m not sure why I didn’t just turn on the lamp by my bed other than I was probably afraid to reach beyond it at this point.

To this, Mom said, “What?” and I know full well she was thinking Crap, her sugar’s probably low again!   But I said it again, as calmly and non-low-blood-sugary as I could, “Mom!!  DO NOT come in here, just reach in and flip on the light.”  And to my surprise, she did it.  By that time, my dad was awake and standing in the doorway too in all his glory (that’d be his underwear)… he was mumbling something as I told Mom, “There’s a skunk in here.  Under my bed.”  I am cracking up as I write this thinking what in the world must have been going through their heads when I said that.

Possibly something along the lines of, “Good lord!  Other parents have kids who get scared of monsters in their closets, but no, our kid has to have skunks under her bed.  Maybe her sugar is really, really low…”  *laughing so hard now*  I just can’t imagine what, if anything in that sleep state, went through their minds.

Thankfully…sorta… before they had time to question my sanity, Mr. Skunk came crawling out from under my bed and aimlessly wandered into my closet.  See?  I TOLD YOU there was a skunk in here!

Mom and Dad’s mouths kinda dropped open and Dad swears they didn’t do this, but I remember him looking at Mom, scratching his head all the while and they both turned and walked away, mumbling to each other.   They just left me sitting there in the middle of the bed.  So, I did the only thing I knew… I jumped off the end of my bed what felt like a full 15 feet out into the hallway and ran down to where they were by the front door.

Apparently, they had hatched a plan by this time because Dad seemed to be determined and awake now.  I don’t know why it sticks out in my mind so much…my dad always slept in his “draws”…his tighty-whiteys, but for some reason, I have vivid images of him moving around, dealing with this ridiculous situation in his ridiculous Undieman “costume” and I can NOT remember this whole incident without seeing him that way.  Most often I would be like but that’s what I remember and so it cracks me up!! Every. Single. Time!

It wasn’t exactly like this, but just so you’re with me on the crack-up scale::

this is sorta Undieman, but not my dad, for certain!

In my recollections, I call this Undieman VS Mr. Skunk: The Epic Battle.  Yes.  I do.

So I stood there with Mom in the foyer, Undieman went back toward my room, turning on the hall lights and reaching in to turn off the light in my room.

In just a few seconds, we heard BOOM, BOOM, BOOM as Undieman came running down the hallway toward his and Mom’s bedroom and SLAM! as he slapped the door shut and right on his heels was Mr. Skunk and we soon heard the sound of his claws scratching on the bedroom door as he tried furiously to get to Daddy!

Mom and I were stunned.  I know, this is one of those ROFLMBO moments.  Trust me, I am with you, but at that time, we were just floored.  In a few more seconds the digging stopped and we watched, mouths hanging open as Mr. Skunk plodded back towards my bedroom as if he’d just tossed a cat out of the house.

About that time, we heard Dad yelling to open the front door.  We seldom ever used that door.  This was your typical 1980’s style house with a front door back in the “L” of the house in a little nook that was dark and never used except for an occasional nocturnal, environmental puking session and my wedding.  (but that’s another story!)  But their master bathroom window opened up right adjacent to the door, so Undieman could give us instructions from his prison-slash-bathroom, which was pretty convenient after all.  He said he was going to try opening the door again, so we waited….

We could hear the click and rattle of the door knob and apparently so could Mr. Skunk because he came flying toward Undieman again when SLAM! Undieman smacked the door shut again and again, there was a minute of furious digging and then…silence as Mr. Skunk strolled back to my his room again.

U-man was back at the window telling us to make some noise so we might lure him toward the front door.  In a flash, (seriously, I don’t know where she got that thing so fast) Mom now had a heavy runner, you know, one of those long hallway rugs, holding it longways in front of her like a shield.  I was supposed to be behind her, but I stayed slightly beside her so I could see what was going on.  We eased down the hallway a bit and started talking, I guess.  I honestly don’t remember the noises we made… but as we did that, we backed up to our previous position by the open front door.

Soon, here came Mr. Skunk, slowly mosying his way towards us…none of us saying a word.  He stopped right in front of me and Mom and looked up at us as if to say, “How y’all doin’?” and turned to head out the door.

I have no idea what possessed my mother at this point.  Some fierce she-bear thing or just a sleep-deprived adrenaline-fueled break with reality but she hollered “GIT OUTTA MY HOUSE!” and snapped that rug at Mr. Skunk’s behind.

I am TOTALLY not kidding you.

My dad almost passed out.  I can see him peeking out that bathroom window with a look of horror on his face as he said, “Are you crazy, woman??!!”   You know he meant business because Daddy never called Mom “woman” like that.

Mr. Skunk, on the prowl for another outdoor ralpher.

And so, that is how this saga ends.  Mr. Skunk went on his way.  He lived to terrorize some other unsuspecting soul, I suppose.  Undieman hung up his invisible cape and never battled Mr. Skunk again.

Although, there was that time a bat got in his room….

good news all around so far…

Well, our overnight in Lexington went smoothly if you don’t count the almost-three hours we spent in The Apple Store trying to back up Hubby’s phone so they could replace it.  Sheesh!

We picked up his records without any problems then  headed over there.  My sugar got low on the walk in so we stopped and bought a cup of these pretzel bites and a regular soda.  An hour later, I was at 325.  GAH!!  I corrected for that and continued to sit on that uncomfy stool while his laptop refused to cooperate for the backup since he didn’t have iCloud backups setup and they felt it would be quicker to just backup to his computer given the slow wifi.  He told me to go do something else, but I really don’t even like the mall, let alone going to look knowing full well we don’t have any money, ya know?  I am NOT really a window shopper.  Heh.

So anyhow, we did have to drive around awhile looking for a motel.  We almost booked one with Trivago and then, when Hubby asked the poor receptionist at the office where we picked up his records, she says, “Well, I will tell you where NOT to stay…” and proceeded to name that motel, saying it had been burgled several times recently!  Sheesh!!

We unloaded at a Microtel, which was clean, but tiny!  I guess the “micro” part is entirely true, eh?  I haven’t stayed in a lot of places, so I had no clue that’s what it actually meant!  LOL!  Anyhow, we then went to get a bite to eat.  Had an amazing steak and I called Mom as we headed back to the motel to see how she was doing with Max.

I was SO afraid he would be just “too much” for her, since she doesn’t have any inside animals, but apparently they had become big buddies.  We talked about him for close to ten full minutes, her telling me all this stuff he was doing.  It sounded as if she planned to just “stay up” with him in the living room, since he had kinda claimed that as his.  *shaking my head*  I felt much relieved to know she wasn’t exasperated with him.

So next morning, we got to the Endoscopy place with time to spare, they took him right on back and it was really an awesome experience.  The nurses were all amazing and I actually talked to a  young lady who had been on an Emmaus walk with our community last year, so that was cool.  I had given a talk on that one, so she remembered me.

They decided since Hubby had been a little combative the last time they did this procedure to give him some “narcotics” this time.  He was SO concerned about that that when he came back out, all he could ask was if he was good and “Did I fight ’em?”  LOL!  He asked that as one sweet, older nurse was right at his side and her face was priceless.  I laughed so hard!  He was sound asleep when they first brought him out and I really thought he’d be out for awhile.  I’d just watched a little guy across the hall snooze for a good half hour after his procedure, but Hubby was fairly awake, although very groggy, in just a couple minutes.  We were dressed and out of there in about another half hour.  They said it all went fine, he was “good” the nurses assured me and asked that I tell him, and no sign of cancer.  When his regular doctor mentioned that, Hubby had been worried about it ever since, so that was an answered prayer.  They said he did have a fibrous “constricture” that they dilated, he does have a small hiatal hernia, which Hubby had told them from the beginning (when regular doc said, no it was an ulcer) and some gastritis, which is just inflamed, irritated stomach. They took about 8 biopsies from different areas just to check for things like celiac and H Pyori, so we will hear from those in the next few days.  They said most of the damage was likely due to years of high-dose NSAIDs for years to treat his feet/leg pain.  I’m not sure what we will be able to do to treat that now.  *sigh*   They told him to eat soft foods and take it easy the rest of the day.

He was pretty sleepy and a little uncomfy all the way home, but once we got home, he got on the phone with this place in Seattle he’s found that builds custom bikes.  He’s bound and determined that we get me a bike that actually fits me instead of settling for the one the bike shop guy uptown wants to sell us.  I don’t see how we could ever afford it, but he’s determined.  Anyhow, after he got off the phone with them, he was super excited about it and soon started talking about meeting up with the bike club people to go on the ride that evening.

It wasn’t going to be one of those “killer” rides like he had just done Sunday (60+ miles!!) so he felt it was perfectly within his “limitations”…  Next thing I knew he was loading up the bikes and rushing me to get ready!  And so it was that we did a 19 mile ride on the same day the man had a procedure done with anesthesia!  He’s crazy, I tell you!

Tommy, cycling

My crazy biker dude…

I wasn’t sure I could make it all the way after the first couple miles, but as usual, I kept telling myself just a little further til we got to the turn-around point.  Once there, he put the one computer we have on my bike and gave me the heart monitor so I could see my progress.  The computer tells you MPH, heart rate, cadence (rotations per minute) and a bunch of other stuff and it was surprisingly encouraging to have that info.  I made the return trip in much less time than going out.  He has bought anther computer with a cracked screen with the intent to fix it for me, so I’m hoping we can get that fixed soon.  I would probably do a lot better or at least be more encouraged to keep at it with that info at my disposal all the time.  Something about knowing how hard you are pushing makes you want to keep at it and keeps me from feeling like giving up.  Psychology.  Pshh!  LOL!

So that was our crazy few days.  My sugar got low early this morning, around 5 am, I woke up sweaty.  I didn’t get up and check it because I was just too stinking tired, but after a few minutes and not feeling any better, I ate a couple of lifesavers and tried to go back to sleep.  I never slept very good after that, so when Hubby got up for work, I got myself a granola bar and laid back down.  I do my hardest, best sleeping in the early morning hours, so when I get “interrupted” during that time, I am wiped out as if I didn’t sleep good all night.  So I slept til about 9:30.  I’m up now, and sitting here doing this, but not super-sore or anything, so that is also encouraging!

However, I DO need to get my butt up and work on this tax crapola.  Praying for a good refund this year… we need it terribly!

Hebrews 12:1 – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

sun on sat

It’s a nice sunny day on this Saturday in February. Makes me a little hopeful to know spring will soon be here, a time when I won’t have to worry about how cold it is before I just walk outside.

A few of the people from the cycling club were going to do a ride today, so Hubby and I talked our eldest son and his wife into going with us.

We had SUCH a good time! We did about 10 miles. Hubby did closer to 17 since he rode all the way back home. Show off. *hmph!*

I didn’t think I was going to get to, or be able to, go. First off, my blood sugar was up. Almost 400!!! ARGH!!!!!! Nothing makes me madder than a high blood sugar, especially when it shouldn’t be that high. Anyway, if you exercise when your sugar is above 250, it can make your sugar go even higher instead of dropping it like usual. I know. It doesn’t make sense, but then, neither does diabetes a lot of times. *sigh*

I gave a correction bolus for the high and just resigned myself to not going while Hubby and the kids were adjusting their bikes on the trainer in the house.

Then I started coughing. ARGH!!!!!! I am SICK TO DEATH of this cough!! I had been doing a lot better. Hadn’t really had a bad coughing “fit” in 3-4 days and then got so choked from coughing that I started gagging and crap. SO tired of this stuff.

ANYhow, I took a big shot of rum in hopes of quieting the cough… that’s AFTER using the nebulizer to no avail and drinking water and several cough drops. Then Hubby informs me that yes, you CAN be arrested for DUI on a bicycle. Oh, great!

Anyway, after deciding I just wouldn’t even try it, my DIL talked me into it, saying that if it got bad, I could just turn back and go to the truck.

Fine!! I’ll go!

I’m so glad I did. I hacked & coughed a little, but nothing horrible during the ride ANNND I didn’t have any issues with my clips either. Not one fall-down! Woohoo!

It reminded me of how much I really love to ride and so, I’m really looking forward to warmer weather and being on the road with my bike again. Hoping the kids are getting more into it now too. They stay so busy it’s hard to find a time when they can go too.

DIL went with me, just the two of us, one day in mid-fall last year and we had a great time other than me getting a flat about 6 miles out and neither of us knowing how to fix it. Nope. Neither one of the guys had bothered to show us how to change a tube! They had just always gone on rides with us, so we never gave it a thought either.

Sheesh! Thankfully, my sweet Hubby could leave work and come help us out. He was so excited that we had gone, and I honestly don’t think he thought we were as far from home as I told him we were. Ha ha.

So, I’m very glad I went riding today, BUT I ended up with another horrible coughing fit tonight, and I think the wind was probably not so good for my ears. I almost have a sore throat, even though the temp was almost 60…Lord willing, I won’t get any sicker, and yes, YES, I’m gonna figure out which doctor I need to see and get something done about this awful cough!

🙂

2 Thessalonians 1:3 — “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.”

skin…

I have made it to another New Year, so that’s a plus &  something to be thankful for.  With all my rashy-itch-ness of late, it’s been hard to keep up with things OR to know if I would make it to 2015 with any hair left on my head.

THE RASH

I have dealt with this awful itchy, peeling, cyclic rash-of-a-thing in my arm pits since last spring!!  Been to about 4 different docs at least 6 times for relief.  No one, not even the two dermatologists I saw, seemed to know what it was nor how to treat it.  I was first told it was yeast and in all honesty, I believe that it had grown some yeast at that first appointment with the ARNP.  But a week’s worth of Diflucan did not get rid of it, so obviously, it wasn’t JUST yeast in there.

Let me back up & say it all started when I decided that I wanted to eliminate as many chemical products as I could from my life.  No particular reason other than just a way to avoid as much harmful stuff as possible.  So okay, I started by switching to homemade deodorant.

My maternal grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease.  If you’ve read anything about this, it’s a horrible disease that studies have shown could be linked to aluminum deposits in the brain.  The main ingredient in any off-the-shelf antiperspirant  is aluminum!  I also hate the gunky build up that antiperspirant leaves on my skin, so I thought Perfect place to start! and I promptly looked up your basic homemade deodorant recipe.

Mine used baking soda, corn starch, coconut oil & a few drops of tea tree oil.  Easy-peasy to make & SHOCK—it really worked well!  Let me also inject here that I have used tea tree & peppermint essential oils for YEARS.  I wasn’t necessarily an oiler (LOL… that’s someone who tries to use essential oils to treat most things & to clean with), but I soon became one.

As I said in an earlier post, I’ve gone off my anti-depressant meds, and I was researching and using oils to help with that.  As of right now, I have a moderate assortment of oils ranging from my standbys, tea tree & peppermint, to clary sage, cedarwood, bergamot & clove.  I was really loving using them too & of course, when the itching would get SO bad in my pits, I’d try various oils to relieve (& hopefully cure!) that too…  Some of the menthol-ish oils helped temporarily with the itching, but nothing seemed to really be getting rid of the rash & it continued to cycle… red, rough, bumpy itchy, then the skin would turn dark brown & then in a few days would begin to peel or slough off.  Over & over it had done that from May til about November.

Yes, I was miserable!!  There’s not a whole lot you can do to keep from touching your pit area, or to keep anything else from touching it unless you go naked.  I was almost to that point wearing only a large scarf tied around me while I was at home… and I STAYED home as much as I could.  It was just unbearable to have to wear a bra & shirt for more than an hour or so.  😦

So fast-forward to late November, when I FINALLY have gotten through to my endo’s office that I need him to call the derma-pathologist he recommended to get me in because he is not accepting new patients.  At last I had an appointment with this guy & he looks at the many photos I’ve taken of this awful rash (because you know how it goes… you can’t get in with a doctor while it looks its worst, so I take pix!) and I tell him how now, after all these months of being pretty localized to my arm pit area, it’s started to spread across my chest.  He nods the whole time, not in a condescending way (that I had gotten before from my GP) but in a knowing way, and without any of the hesitation or “it could be” prefaces that I’d gotten from the other two dermatologists he tells me it’s contact dermatitis.

WHAT?!?  I had decided it MUST be internal because by the time I got in to see this guy, I had been using NOTHING on my pits besides water.  NO deodorants, NO soaps, NO lotions or powders.  NOTHING.  He tells me that it is like when you have poison ivy (which I’ve never had, btw!  LOL!) —you touch it & in a couple hours to maybe a couple days, you get the itching & blisters, it stays with you for about 21 days and if you don’t touch the ivy again, it will go away.  But if you touch it again or let it spread from one area to another, it starts the process all over.

He asked what laundry detergent I used & I told him it was Melaleuca brand liquid.  And that’s when the light came on that I had started using that stuff shortly before the whole mess started… I just never thought about it being that since I had also switched my deodorant at about the same time.

He told me that Melaleuca was one of the worst for producing allergic responses and told me to switch to something “free”… I’d used All Free before, so I went back to that.  He also gave me a steroid ointment that he said I would think is magic, but he told me, it should make you feel a lot better, but we still have to determine what is causing this.

So, I proceeded to use the ointment as directed and sure enough, the itching improved drastically!  Of the two or three ointments/creams I’d been given previously, this worked like a charm & I have NO CLUE why none of the other doctors didn’t prescribe it, but anyhow…  I started trying to rewash much of my clothes in the “free” detergent & was doing well, obviously feeling a lot better since I wasn’t in misery from constant itching.

Then I got a slight yeast infection.  If you know anything about diabetes, you know that those of us who have it tend to get frequent yeast infections.  I felt this one coming on & didn’t want it to get worse.  That’s all I needed, my nether regions to be itching as well, ya know?  So, since I had used clove & lemongrass oils together successfully to treat yeast before, I put a small amount of those in a tub of water thinking I’d keep the yeast from getting worse and I wouldn’t be getting my upper body in the water, so I wasn’t going against doctor’s orders to not use anything but the ointment on the itchy areas.

I felt a slight stinging when I got in the water but thought that I had probably gotten the water a little too hot.  When I got out, it looked like I’d been scalded.  I dried off & got dressed, but soon I realized that something was terribly wrong.  I was itching & my skin felt literally burned & pin-prickly everywhere I’d been in the water.

It got so bad that it started to resemble my bout with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome back in 1994.  When that happened, it was determined to be a severe reaction to taking Bactrim for an ear infection…I spent two weeks in the hospital on a morphine drip for pain, not sure if I would make it out alive.  My liver & kidneys began to show effects of it not to mention the fact that every inch of my skin broke into huge watery blisters that burst leaving raw, open skin behind.  The inside of my mouth & eyes blistered and peeled and my “insides” (read: vaginal) sloughed out from this awful condition.  I was contemplating going to the hospital.  I’d never heard of anyone ever surviving two episodes of SJS, so I was extremely worried.

I rushed to the pharmacy to get some Benedryl and kept myself dosed with it for a couple days and thankfully, the redness slowly faded and today, 3 days later, I am only slightly itchy and still taking minimal doses of Benedryl.

All that to say, I am still a physical mess as far as my skin goes.  I am so shocked that something I’d used without incident a few weeks ago would do that to my skin!!  There’s no question that it had to be those oils since the red, welted, itchy skin was only where I’d been in the water.  It’s just amazing how our bodies react to the environment.

Of course, that has me even more worried about ever finding out what’s going on with me.  I’m still using little to nothing on my skin, but it’s becoming really dry now as it is winter and we have blown-air heat.  I am going to try some organic coconut oil on my calves and see how that works.  If it helps and doesn’t break me out, I’ll try it on my torso and upper legs.

I have met people over the years who are extremely allergic to foods and such.  I often wondered how they coped with everyday life.  It seemed to me that it’d have to be such a burden to constantly wonder what was in or on something that might cause me to break out or become sick.  I am fighting the urge to feel sorry for myself.I mean, after all, I already have to count every carb that I put into my mouth and make sure I am dosing correctly for it, not to mention dealing with all the inconsistency that comes with diabetes.  Sometimes it doesn’t matter how closely you follow “the rules”, diabetes will do whatever it wants to do.  It doesn’t matter if you had “this” reaction to “that” dose of insulin yesterday.  Today, it might be completely different.  That’s just how it goes with T1D.  It is a nasty monster whose only predictable trait is its unpredictability.  So I feel irritated to be bothered with this uber-sensitive skin stuff too.  But what can you do?

Nothing.

Just pray for strength to deal with whatever comes and trust that God is doing SOMEthing in your life.  Even if you can’t figure out what it is.  *smile*

I can tell you one thing, though.  I’ll never take ,my skin for granted.  I thought I never would after the two years it took to recover from SJS… but I guess I have.  I didn’t mean to, but it is sure easy to forget that your skin is your largest organ and it provides a very important function!!

Off to try and accomplish a bit of SOMEthing in the house now.  Bless you if you made it all the way through that!  Ha ha!