Thoughts from me - a preacher's wife, farmer's daughter, mom, and nurse. Posts are mainly intended to help me journal the events of my life - topics will include kids, church, work, marriage, life in general,
and of course my dogs . . . and whatever else I feel compelled to write about.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Joel!

What Joel should still look like . . .

but he doesn't!

Happy 15th Birthday Joel! Love Mom

Monday, March 23, 2009

Becoming Diabetic

Having grown up in a family strewn with diabetics, I am quite familiar with diabetes or "sugar die-beetus" as my grandparents called it. I hate the word because of what mental images it produces for me.

I see my dad's Uncle John who was missing an arm and a leg from "sugar die-beetus." I was present at a reunion he was at when I was a toddler, so all of my memories of him are from a single snapshot taken that day.

Type II diabetes or adult onset diabetes has a stigma associated with it of fat, doughnut eating, Pepsi downing, couch potatoes who would rather eat than breathe. At least this is how I feel people look at us. Yes, I am now in the ranks of "us."

Although Type II diabetes IS associated with lifestyle (ie. overweight, sedentary lifestyle) there is also a huge genetic component. And although you can change your lifestyle, you certainly can't change your genes.

The way I look at it, I was destined to become diabetic. I may have been able to delay the onset by 10 or 20 years, but it was knocking on my door.

I had gestational diabetes at age 20 when I was pregnant with Megan and again at age 24 when I was pregnant with Joel. I was in nursing school when I was pregnant with Joel and we were learning to use the glucometer. We had to test ourself. My blood sugar was 324. I told my class mates my meter was broken.

Fast forward 15 years and a lot of denial later.

Around Thanksgiving I began to become concerned that my legs were swelling. Nurses stand a lot. It was not unusual to have edema at the end of the work day, but it was usually resolved by morning. Not so any more. The edema was sticking around morning, noon, and night.

I also noticed that I was not urinating very much. Nurses are notorious for "holding it" all day. I vowed to drink more, pee more, and try to sit more at work.

Enter the Christmas season and all of the goodies associated with it. We were inundated at work with homemade candies, cookies, and cakes. I tried to stay out of them without much success.

A day or two after Christmas I was in a meeting at work. Toward the end of the meeting I began to have a really bad pain in my right side - a flank pain. When I stood up and walked out of the room the pain became severe, taking my breath away and almost causing me to pass out. It was severe for about an hour and bothersome for a couple days. No fever, no chills - just pain.

I still don't know what that pain was but it turned me into a different person. From that day and for the next 6 weeks, I urinated like a different person. You know, peed like a Russian race horse and all of those other famous urination metaphors.

And talk about thirsty. At work I do patient assessments every day and one of the questions I ask is, "Have you had any excessive thirst or urination?" I now know how to describe excessive thirst and urination. It is excessive. If you have it, you know it.

All I thought about was drinking. Water, milk, tea, coke, windshield wiper fluid . . . it didn't matter. I drank the remainder of drinks left in the car while I was driving - not even caring whose they were or how old they were. During this time my most valued possession was my white plastic cup kept in the bathroom for me to drink out of when I was up every two hours urinating.

Yes, I said up every two hours to pee. Sometimes I would have to pee so bad that despite running to the bathroom, I found myself mopping the floor. Probably way TMI - but my point is the next time you are at the doctor's office and a nurse asks you if you have excessive thirst or urination don't worry that you do and you just aren't aware. You will know.

The reason uncontrolled blood sugar causes excessive thirst and urination is because the body is trying to correct itself. We are fearfully and wonderfully made and God designed our bodies to want to be in a state of homeostasis. A state of balance. When blood sugar is high the body tries to dilute the sugar out of the blood - thus making you desire/need to take in more fluids in an attempt to filter the sugar out through the kidneys. Awesome.

Because of this I was peeing pure sugar. Okay, probably not pure sugar, but I am sure I could have given Kool-Aid a run for their money. Bacteria loves sugar. Put two and two together and that makes one killer yeast infection.

This was actually my final clue that something was wrong. Not that the excessive thirst and urination weren't clues enough - and the 10 pound weight loss without trying. But I knew that the only thing that causes repeat yeast infections was diabetes. The denial was over.

February 13th Joel had a basketball game and then a lock-in at church. It was 9:50 pm as we were driving past CVS. I pulled in telling Joel he could pick out some snacks to take to the lock-in. I walked back to the pharmacy and and the pharmacist helped me pick out a glucometer and all the trappings that go with it. We left the store at 9:58 pm.

It wasn't until 4:30 pm February 14th that I got up enough nerve to test. 367 was the reading. There was no more denying. Brian took me to the hospital where they drew labs, gave me a liter of fluids, a prescription for Metformin 500 mg BID, and a diagnosis of diabetes.


I have been thinking about my blog lately. Thinking about taking it in a different direction. A lot has changed in this head of mine since starting Thoughts of Preacher's Wife.

When I started the blog I was a . . .

Thirty-something wife, mom, and nurse who really doesn't have time to be blogging. I just wanted a way to chronicle everyday life - both good and bad. Lots of new things going on in my life - new church, new to being the Pastor's wife, new to having teenagers, new to not homeschooling, new to infertility, new to blogging.

First of all let me address the "thirty-something wife, mom, and nurse." To be truthful, if my age were a price tag I would be $39.99.

But that is just the first of the problems with that description.

I have been a Pastor's wife at Cornerstone Church for soon to be four years! Megan will be 20 in November - no longer a teenager! I haven't home schooled in three years! I have been infertile for longer than I care to think about. And like me, this blog is no spring chicken.

There are a lot of new things going on in my life . . .

- I am a newly diagnosed diabetic (Okay, I admit that was painful to write);
- I will be entering a new decade of life this summer (More painful, much more painful.);
- I am adapting to life with adult children (Talk about pain!)
- I am discovering the world of healthy eating and exercise;
- I am embracing my new love of bowls, especially nesting bowls, old dishes, and cheap furniture finds at Trader Baker's (It helps with the pain.);
- and I am finally coming to terms with the fact that God blessed me with three children, two dogs, and two cats and that may be all I get. Well, maybe the dog thing is negotiable.

The whole infertility thing which is the real reason I started this blog is still with me. I don't know if it will ever fully go away. It is kind of like hemorrhoids - painful, always there. Okay, maybe not hemorrhoids. More like a bruise. A deep bruise that doesn't show on the outside but one that is painful when just the right or wrong pressure is applied.

I admit that a lot of my desire/need to have another child was an attempt to replace or rather replenish the three that were growing up so fast. I couldn't imagine my life existing outside of their lives.

My thoughts sunk so low as to even think God cruel for not "understanding my desires" and "fulfilling my needs." I still don't understand God's ways, but as God told Job, "I am not a man. My thoughts and ways are not like yours."

Amazingly, I have learned that my growing kids do still need me. I was reminded of this as I was mopping puke off the floor in Joel's room last week.

God works in mysterious ways.

Free Time

Who would think that the down turn in the economy would effect nursing!

I showed up to work this morning only to find out that the doctor moved today's clinic patients to Thursday because there were only five patients scheduled for today. I guess he had better things to do than come in for five patients.

Being a PRN (as needed) nurse - I was the expendable employee today.

I have never worked full-time as a nurse. When I first graduated from nursing school I took a part-time evening shift job in a great hospital on their Cardiac Step Down Unit. After four years I changed hospitals and took another part-time evening shift job in a not as great hospital this time on a med-surg unit. Working part-time (actually I called it part-part-time/usually 32 hours in a two-week pay period) allowed me to still technically qualify as a stay-at-home mom and yet feel like I was contributing to the household. Working part-time also gave me paid vacation but it required that I work every other weekend.

After a year of missing every once a month Patch Club performance at church, I decided to take a leap of faith and go from part-time to PRN. I stayed at this PRN status during the five years I worked in OB, and I remain PRN now that I am in oncology. During this time, I have come to expect peaks and flows in staffing, and I realize that full-time and part-time employees get first dibs when the hours get short. My hours although usually very dependable are not guaranteed.

Thus, I am unexpectedly home today.

Considering the fact that I am awake, dressed, and presentable I decided to weigh my options of what to do with my day.

I could . . .

- forget the fact that I am awake, dressed, and presentable and climb back into bed and sleep until the kids get home from school;
- send lurid texts to Brian and seduce him into coming home and joining me for the above;
- opt to spend a few hours on the couch under a blanket with Scooby watching worthless daytime TV;
- start a cleaning project;
- go shopping at Old Time Pottery for nesting bowls and Mexican restaurant style dishes for Joel's birthday dinner (the bowls are merely a new addiction of mine - hey, better than Little Debbies);
- spend the day blogging and emptying my head of all of the random thoughts circulating around.

Although spending the day in bed does sound tempting I am quite certain Brian would not heed to my texts. I didn't say he wouldn't enjoy them - but in the end he would say something about the mortgage, electric bill, and Levi's Jeep's ever empty gas tank being what keeps him on the straight and narrow and ultimately a good boy who can't come home in the middle of the day.

I would start a new cleaning project - like tackle the mound of clothes in Joel's room. But how can Joel learn responsibility if I am always cleaning his room? Whew! I am glad I thought of that.

I would love to go shopping for nesting bowls and Mexican dishes, but feel the shopper's remorse I would suffer after spending money while missing a day's pay would just be too great to bear. Who am I kidding? I just don't feel like driving to town by myself.

While I am sure I will spend some time today on the couch with Scooby, it looks like my day is going to be spent emptying my head of random thoughts.

I feel lighter already!