Archive for the ‘great success’ Category

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Retinopathy and a good A1C

September 14, 2010

About six months ago, my optometrist found a cotton-wool spot in my eye and advised me to see a retina specialist. I slightly freaked out, but Dr. P assured me that it was harmless and it was a very common side-effect with those who have had diabetes for as long as I have. (I use the term “side-effect” rather than “complication” because it’s not quite a complication yet, but I’m hoping it won’t get to that.)

I asked my boss if he knew anyone, and he referred me to Dr. B. Dr. B specializes in the retina, and more specifically, he specializes in diabetic retinopathy. My first appointment with him absolutely freaked me out– he said he wasn’t worried about the retinopathy (“It’s normal for someone who’s had diabetes for 17 years”) but saw something else he was more concerned about. He told me to go upstairs to see Dr. T, a neuro-ophthalmologist, right away.

At this point, I was starting to have a panic attack. WTF was going on with my eyes?? You never get referred to another specialist that quickly unless something is wrong.

Turns out the nerves in my eyes are swollen. Dr. T said she couldn’t be sure if it was just how I was born or if it was truly a problem, so she scheduled me for an MRI (those things are freaky as hell, btw). The results ended up being that everything was fine, that’s how my nerves really look. Fat nerves, I guess.

Fast forward to yesterday, to my six-month follow up with Dr. B. He didn’t seem to agree with Dr. T’s assessment of the MRI scans. Then he said, “There is a little bit of hemorrhaging, but it’s hard to tell if it’s because of the diabetes, or because of your nerves.” He called it a pseudo tumor…and of course all I heard was TUMOR.

“Wait, what?! I have a tumor?!”

He assured me that it wasn’t a real tumor; that’s why they called it a pseudo tumor. And I thought, “Holy crap, can you call it something else?!”

Dr. B said that, at my next appointment with Dr. T, I needed to have a talk with her to see what was going on, what’s in the future, and what I should be doing.

So here’s my dilemma. One doctor says I’m okay; another says I’m not. One doctor is telling me that it’s hard to tell what’s going on with my eyes because of another problem. The other one is saying I’m fine. Who do I believe?

I saw my endo today and gave her an update on yesterday’s events and a quick recap of what happened six months ago. She agreed that the two conflicting opinions was a little strange, but everything seems okay otherwise. I don’t have floaters, or random flashes of light, or blurriness (aside from the blurriness due to my craptacular vision).

She also mentioned a study that I found kind of ironic: if a person goes from a high A1C and suddenly goes to a good one, it actually makes retinopathy worse. Makes no sense, but it is what it is. I told her that prior to going on the OmniPod, my A1C was in the mid 8’s. Six months after I switched, my A1C was 6.9, then it dropped to 6.5, hung out at 6.2 for a few months, and my most recent one is 6.1.

We’ll keep monitoring it. I’m hoping this really isn’t a serious issue, as both ophthalmologists are looking out for different things, but it’s really bugging me that two experts have conflicting assessments. Maybe I need to get a third opinion?

That being said, my endo visit today was a LOT better. My labs are good, my A1C is great (I’m still pushing for under 6, but hey, I’ll take 6.1), and everything is going well on the Ping. I do have a lot to work on in terms of getting in shape and losing weight before it’s time to think about a baby (and piling more weight on my body), so Lord help me with that. For some reason I think it’s easier to work on a stable A1C than it is to lose weight! O_o

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Your friendly neighborhood barista

August 24, 2010

I stop by Starbucks every morning on my way to work. It’s literally a block away from the office, so it’s been my go-to place for the past few months (I’ve even mayor of it on Foursquare, much to my friend Steph’s amusement– she’s trying to oust me, the nerve!). Every morning, I’m greeted by theeeee friendliest baristas ever. They greet me with, “Hey Faye…your usual?”

Since summer began, Starbucks has been giving out their very tempting treat receipts: buy a drink before 2pm, and you can buy a grande cold drink after 2pm for $2 (plus tax). Of course, this also marks that time of day where I’m squirming at my desk, trying to fight off the food coma from lunch. Perfect afternoon break!

One day, I noticed that familiar feeling of “I’m going to be low soon so I should get something.” Steph and I headed over, and I ordered a passion tea lemonade.

R, one of my favorites, made my drink, and as he was about to slide it across the counter to me, he stopped and said, “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure, what’s up?”

“What’s that on your arm?”

I looked at the back of my left arm and saw my pod peeking out from under my sleeve.

“Oh, it’s my insulin pump.” I turned to give him a better look.

“Oh, you’re diabetic? Wait…I made your drink sweetened. Is that okay for you? Do you want me to make another one with no syrup?”

I was truly touched at his genuine concern (and thankful he wasn’t one of those darn food police Storm Troopers) and assured him it was okay. I explained my bg was dropping and that I needed something to kick it back up. He, in turn, explained that he has a family history of diabetes and that he was getting regular check ups to make sure everything was okay. I commended him for staying on top of things, since most people don’t.

I left Starbucks feeling hopeful that not everyone out there will see my pod and say, “What the heck is THAT on your arm?!” (To which I want to respond, “What the heck is THAT coming out of your head? Oh, it’s your face.”) Or those who see my pod and say, “Wow, is that a nicotine patch?” (Um, not sure what kind of patches you’re using but that is a helluva lot of nicotine.) I love telling people about type 1 diabetes, but if you’re going to come at me with really dumb comments, it’s really hard for me to not be sarcastic.

Cheers to those who are curious and inquire in a respectful manner!

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Team Bump

July 27, 2010

(Inspired by Kerri’s post on dLife the other day)

Who’s on Team Bump? Well, from a medical standpoint, there is my dear endocrinologist, Dr. Burns, who is seriously one of the best I’ve had. She reminds me of my endo when I was first diagnosed, Dr. Jones: comfortable to talk to, not judgmental, and totally helpful with the ups and downs of the disease. Dr. Burns is always asking me when Chris and I are ready for kids, and pretty soon, I’ll be replying with a hearty “Now!”

Another person on the team is my optometrist. While this may sound a little weird because I should be seeing an ophthalmologist (and I am; two even), she is the one who actually caught the cotton-wool spot in my eye a few months ago. Apparently it was nothing to worry about, but it was enough to get me to see a retina specialist just to make sure everything was a-ok. My first appointment freaked me out, though, because it ended up having me hustle up three floors in the hospital to see a neuro-ophthalmologist. The retina specialist saw the cotton-wool spot but was more concerned about seeing my optical nerves swollen, which is why he rushed me up there. An MRI clarified that my optical nerves were not swollen; I was born that way (fat nerves, I guess).

I also have a gynecologist for the annual examination of my lady parts, as well as a dentist I see twice a year (we make it a point to fly out to San Diego twice a year to see him).

In addition to my medical team, who I see every few months here and again, there’s the team that supports me in my day-to-day activities. My husband, obviously, because he is there sharing my latest A1C and helping me through lows. Did I mention he brings packets of CapriSun when he picks me up at the train station because he knows I more often than not go low after work? What a guy. :)

Before him, it was my parents, and still is. My parents live in Japan, and we talk every day, and they always, always make sure to ask, “How are you doing?” (translation: how’s your blood sugar?). I update them after every doctor’s appointment and get Chris to jump in with explanations if necessary. Chris’ mom also takes an interest in my health; we also update her after doctor’s appointments and remind her that she should, God willing, have healthy, happy grandbabies in the near future.

Of course, there are other friends who take the time to try and learn about this other friend I’m living with. I love that they don’t assume and make ridiculous comments about things they’ve seen in movies or heard on tv, and I’m happy to be part of the education process, even if it’s only for a small number of people.

So, that’s my team…and I leave you all with this, which was my fortune the other day:

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Low carb

July 23, 2010

I absolutely love seafood. I can eat it raw, roasted, baked, broiled, fried (although not my favorite prep unless it’s calamari), sauteed, you name it.

I recently found a recipe for slow-roasted salmon from the Cooking for Friends cookbook from Williams-Sonoma. My friend Steph is an avid cook and she and I like to scour the internet for recipes and trade. I saw this book at WS, fell in love with the photography first, and realized that this was a book we BOTH needed.

Chris and I decided to (and by Chris and I, I mean I decided to…he just agreed) try out this new recipe. It sounded healthy, very simple, and absolutely delicious. I paired with smashed potatoes from Simply Recipes, usingĀ  red potatoes instead of new. While potatoes are hardly low carb, you can definitely cut back on them and eat more salmon, like I did. ;)

Verdict on the salmon was…well, let’s just say Chris bought 1.8 pounds and we ended up eating 95% of it. It was THAT good (and good for you). Rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with only salt and pepper, it was simple enough to let the freshness of the fish shine through. We did squeeze some lemon on, after garnishing with chives and parsley, and pair it with a little bit of creme fraiche, and that just catapulted us into a whole other level of bliss.

The best part about this entire meal? No crazy post-meal spike! I stayed at a level 90 the entire time. If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.

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A1C is in!

September 18, 2009

This afternoon, I got an email saying that my doctor had posted my lab results from Wednesday’s doctor’s appointment.

I logged into the website and waited patiently for it to load.

…waiting…

Finally, I got the results. Clicked on the link that said “Hemoglobin A1C.” Waited patiently for it to load.

…waiting…

Then I was greeted with this lovely sight:

WOOHO!

It was a nice drop from my 6.9 earlier this year, and a far cry from the 8.2 I had before I went on the OmniPod back in 2008.

However, the sad thing was, I was completely alone in my office, and Chris was taking a quiz and wasn’t online. My first reaction was, “OMG! Are you serious?!” After that, I was a little bummed because the one person I shared it with didn’t have the slightest clue what I was talking about. It reminded me of my college acceptance into UC Irvine: both my parents were at work when I found out I was accepted. In excitement, I ran up and down the stairs and around the house a few times.

While the celebration was belated (about an hour or so, then Chris came back after his quiz), it was just as sweet. I’m getting closer to that magic 6!

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I LOVE seeing this level and trend arrow one hour after a meal!

September 3, 2009

Paired with the soft (ahem) rises and falls, I just feel like I’m doing something right. It’s such a far cry from last night/today’s roller coaster of going to bed high, waking up low, and going high an hour later.