Tuesday, October 25, 2011

34 (A New Diagnosis)

I turned 34 last week. Thirty-four isn't worth a lot of fanfare, but it was a pretty nice birthday. I got some wonderful gifts this year, all things I wanted, nothing I truly needed. I recognize how very fortunate I am to be in that position, to be able to get things off of the "it would be nice to have..." list. Despite us being very well off, I'm not very good at doing or buying the things I need just for me, especially the extras. But this year, I felt I really need to treat myself well.

It's not something I talk about much, but I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes at 24. Over the years I've tried a few different medications, and was on insulin throughout both of my pregnancies. I am by no means a good patient. I always take my meds, but I haven't always been very careful about what I eat, and I don't test my glucose levels as often as I could. Many days, other than when I was pregnant, I didn't give it a lot of thought. When I did try to be "good," I'd often have a middle of the night awful episode of low blood sugar. Plus it's not like I haven't had other medical issues that took up more of my time - not being able to walk trumps glucose levels (which were actually very good during that time, since I wasn't able to get myself food very easily).

A couple of weeks ago, I had a new blood test done, and it revealed that instead of Type II I have what's referred to as Type 1.5, or latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA). I'm not an expert, but basically it means that my pancreas doesn't work. As the link above says, "simply stated, autoimmune disorders, including LADA, are an "allergy to self.”" For years, I have blamed myself for not trying hard enough, not having enough will power, to just eat better, exercise more, and make the diabetes go away. I always thought that when Max turned three, I'd make my efforts to get better (and I have, with this whole gym thing). Now my doctor has said I can stop beating myself up, that's it's not going to happen.

It's been pretty devastating news to receive. I know there are many, many worse things that can happen in life, that this is just a tweak to what I already knew, but it's still hard to hear "this is forever" rather than hold that hope alive that it wasn't for the rest of my life. I just always assumed that some day I'd be done with this.

So I've had the last few weeks to process this information and get ready for the next phase of tackling it. Later this week I'll be getting a continuous glucose monitor to use in tracking my blood sugar levels at all times. It requires inserting something under the skin of my stomach, and I'll be wearing a device that resembles a pager to track it all. It's actually a really cool technology, and should help give me better information to modulate my medications as needed. And it comes in a purple case, so you can't beat that. I'm doing insulin shots with meals in addition to my long-acting nighttime insulin, and depending on how things go with the monitor, I will consider the possibility of adding an insulin pump. But one thing at a time - this one change is overwhelming enough. But as my friend Stephanie said, today it seems like a mountain. Soon, it will just seem like a blip on the radar.

Did I need some treats to make me feel better as I faced this? Absolutely. Was it better to buy a new watch than eat an extra slice of birthday cake? Definitely.

It's funny, but you (or at least I) look back at your life and see the blessings and challenges that each year held: first full time job at 22, married at 24, baby #1 at 26, finished graduate degree at 28, baby #2 at 30, back surgery at 32. Thirty-four is starting off this way. Hopefully, I'll be able to look back and see that this wasn't the defining moment, even if it feels that way now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Catching Up and Slowing Down

Well, my faithful handful of readers, I only managed to blog twice last month, so this is one of my catch up posts. September was a difficult, ass-kicking month for me. It seemed everything needed doing and usually at the same time.

The kids went back to school and all is going well so far. Hannah likes her teachers and is keeping up with all of the new homework demands this year. Most of her homework is done on the computer, which can be a bit complicated because she doesn't have much computer knowledge yet (lots of "Help, I clicked the wrong thing!"), but she's doing a good job with it. She started piano lessons, and is taking swim lessons instead of karate for now. Hebrew school is also two days a week now, often with its own homework component too. Max is happy in Room K Koalas, and we're hearing more and more about how he's spending his days. He got to be Shabbat Helper last week, which is always a highlight for him, and seems intrigued by their new class pets: a bunch of worms that they'll follow through the year.

Work has been incredibly busy, but we were excited to see our new fund launch at the end of September. We have had an institutional product for a long time, but this is our team's first foray into the retail market, and it's very exciting. It's been very interesting to see all that goes into a fund launch, since I've never been on that side before, and a challenge to add all of that on to my normal responsibilities.

We're also in the middle of the month of Jewish holidays that come every fall. We spent Rosh Hashanah in Newton, with Marc cooking two really nice meals, and we had a great time on the second day with the Weitzman family. After a chaotic day we made it to Hartford to spend Yom Kippur with Marc's family, and while it wasn't the smoothest trip, we had a great time being together. We put up our sukkah last weekend and are looking forward to having lots of people over to join us in it this Saturday afternoon.

After going weekly for the past couple of months, I am no longer going to physical therapy and have resumed going to the gym and working out on my own. My therapist was able to quantify my improvement, and I'm no longer as scared of hurting myself when moving my body. I even made it to the gym three times in a week once, which was my goal when I started working out in March (though I haven't done it again, 2x a week seems like the most I can do right now). It's getting easier, and I'm hoping to stick with it.

And in the midst of all this, there's been lots more. A couple of birthday parties, plus celebrating Marc's birthday one Shabbat evening. The annual Temple Emanuel BBQ. Back to school nights. Apple picking at Tougas Farm. Touch-a-Truck. The Lion King in 3D. Yo Gabba Gabba Live in Concert. Dinner out with Room K parents. Taking both kids to the dentist. Thankfully, this all didn't happen on the same day, though sometimes, it felt like it did.

But I did manage to carve out some downtime in the last few weeks, if you can believe it, and I realized that I'm really no good with downtime. With too much of it, I get depressed and anxious, or all wound up trying to figure out plans for next summer. It's just easier to always be doing something.

Which is probably why I have three parties on the calendar for this Sunday.

So what have you been up to?