Friday, March 31, 2006

For the folks coming here from Julie's

The (U.S.) diabetes blogworld has been buzzing
about s.1955, a bill which claims to allow americans better access to insurance.

Instead, it allows companies to circumvent state laws requiring insurers to cover certain services - including diabetes supplies.

I'm not sure why there hasn't been a furor about this in the infertility and feminist blogworlds as well. It would also allow insurers to get around state laws requiring coverage of little minor details of women's lives such as contraception and infertility. See this Consumer Watchdog report (pdf) for more details. Indeed, Planned Parenthood calls this the "lose your benefits bill."



Wednesday, March 29, 2006


As I said here, I can eat pretty much anything I want, so long as I give additional insulin for it.

Nonetheless, it's still kinda embarrassing to have your pump-educator/dietician catch you buying your celebratory post-appointment three musketeers bar at the little coffee stand outside the clinic.

Quote of the day: "Yeah, sometimes the boobs get in the way."

Said by aforementioned dietician/pump-educator (and pumper) as I moved one of the twin peaks out of the way so that I could see what I was doing as I attempted to insert an infusion set.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Diabetes Pet Peeves

A little diabetes blog game as I am feeling diabetically peevish and very procrastinatory today. Here are ten of my own personal Diabetes Pet Peeves (DPPs). Between now and next Sunday, please add your own peeves to the comments. Next Sunday, I'll post the BIG LIST of DPPs. Then you pick your ten favorites and put them in order. I will tabulate the top ten and post it the following Sunday.

If you're not diabetic (or in some way a member of the diabetes-world) and you happen to be reading this, you can participate too! Please do tell us, what did you learn from reading this?

Art-Sweet's Diabetes Pet Peeves (DPPs)

  • Diabetes "Drive-Bys" - "Should you really be eating that? I thought diabetics weren't supposed to eat sugar? Would you like a piece of fruit instead of that nice luscious chocolate cake?"
Educational notes for those readers not familiar with Type 1 diabetes:

If someone uses a pump or a sliding scale regimen, they can eat whatever the hell [consult your doctor please, this is not medical advice, blah blah blah] they please, as long as they bolus for it with additional insulin. We all ought to eat healthy well-balanced meals, but that goes for you too, my friendly Person Without Diabetes reader. And a piece of fruit or a glass of juice contains simple carbohydrates, which can cause blood sugar to spike more rapidly than that yummy cake you're judging me for eating. And oh yeah: do you really think you're being helpful? Unless you know me well enough to know that I personally am on a diet and have no business eating cake, asking me if I should be eating cake is being pushy.
  • "Shooting up" jokes. D'you REALLY think I haven't heard that one before? Do you really think it's funny? Do you really think I enjoy it when you associate something that I HAVE to do with taking illegal drugs? No, I didn't think so. Gosh, you were just trying to be funny? Well, you weren't funny.

  • The Case of the Disappearing Insulin Bottle/Meter/Finger Sticker/You Name It. It is a rule, that the warmer and snugger in bed you are and the readier you are to fall asleep, the more likely it is that some aspect of your diabetes paraphernalia will be downstairs on the dining room table.

  • The Case of the Appearing Syringes/Test Strips/You Name It. It is a rule that, the more you do not want your purse to pop open and disgorge syringes all over the floor in front of a new co-worker, the more likely it is to start spitting bloody test strips and used syringes everywhere.

  • Diabetes Horror Stories. Your Aunt/Grandma/Cousin/ Neighbor had a leg amputated? Went on dialysis? Crashed his car because he had a "diabetic fit" while driving? I'm very sorry for him/her and his/her family. But why do you think I would want to hear about this?

  • Confusion of Type 1/Type 2: "Can't you just take a pill for that?" Um, if I could, doncha think I would?

  • "So, I guess your mom must have given you too much candy as a kid, huh?" Yup. It's all her fault. And I'm so glad you think it's okay to take potshots at my family. For the record, type I is an auto-immune disease that has nothing to do with sugar consumption... blah blah blah canned speech.

  • "Ooooh! You have to take shots? (gasp). I could never do that." Yes, you could. And you would if your life depended on it.

  • Eating to exercise. I would like to lose weight. In order to do this, I need to exercise. Frequently, I have to eat in order to exercise. This seems ridiculously self-defeating. (yes, I know that a glass of juice is less calories then I'm going to burn, that I could avoid this with the pump. I do not want advice. I am venting. This is a pet peeve.)

  • That Lantus and Humalog cannot be mixed in the same syringe.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Photo Friday: My Spring

A few minutes ago I was outside, walking around in my brown, soggy winter garden, and composing a sulky blog post in my head about how my spring is no spring at all.

(Y'know, that whole regenerative, new life business.)

I was seething from a crappy day at the Job that Blows, contemplating why it is that people who are no good at doing their own job are so damn good at interfering in, criticizing, and/or taking credit for other people's work. And feeling so utterly hopeless, after reading that adoptions from Guatemala may be suspended in January of 2007. Which leaves me feeling like:
We. Will. Never. Have. A. Child. Period.

And then I saw this.

And even this.

Stubborn little tulips, working their way through the cardboard box that blew in from somewhere. Still with a patch of snow for good measure.

I came inside and re-read all of your supportive, wonderful, commiserative, hopeful comments. And felt something warm and spring-like in my bitter, grey, dried out winter soul. (My g-d, send her back to Creative Writing 101, please, please).

So that's my spring. One hesitant crocus. A tulip pushing its way through a cardboard box. A job interview next week. Another FET cycle starting soon. Not the most glorious show of daffodils ever, but it's something.

Photo Friday is a good thing. It makes me post about something else even when all I really want to do is just keep howling at the unfairness of it all.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006



In g-d only knows how many cycles of trying this shit, we have never heard anything but this.

We have never seen anything but one-lined pee-sticks.

I'm so sick of it. I want my fucking tiger already. Two and a half years, and we don't even have a damn goldfish in a little plastic bag.

Now I will go see my therapist, who went to the same clinic, and now has two kids, and last session told me how there's nothing like the feeling you get when you hear that you're pregnant. And she will try to tell me that there is nothing essentially the matter with me, with us, that the reason it works for everyone else but not us is just bad luck.

And I may fire her. Or slap her. Or just crumple up into a ball on her stupid little white couch and howl.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock

17 hours to go.

Thank you for all your superstition comments. Please keep 'em coming.

It is fascinating (and distracting) to learn other people's superstitions about TTC, diabetes, and life in general.

Pili thanks those of you who have assured me that you had no early pregnancy symptoms.

She says it means I have to stop poking her in sensitive places and going: "Does that hurt? Well, does it hurt MORE than usual? Oh right, that could be the PIO shot anyway."

So tonight's question: Is it better to pee on a stick, or not to pee at all? (This is 10 days after a transfer of defrosted embryos, frozen at day 5.)

I guess not peeing at all doesn't really work, does it?

So stick, or no stick? And if stick, what's your favorite brand?

(if this makes absolutely no sense to you, I apologize. If it makes sense to you - please answer the question!)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Just another...

... come on 80's fans, fill in the blank.

My mind is full of disconnected thoughts.

Beta is in 41 hours.

I forgot to call and make my annual opthamologist appt for the 10th day in a row. Despite writing "Optho" on my hand in sharpie.

I got a call back about the job. They sound very interested. They want me to come and interview in person. Oh. My. G-d. Did I mention that this job would involve moving? Not far, far away, but it's not commutable from where we live now.

One of our only very good friends in City-I-Dislike finds out this week if she got the job that means she will be staying here for another three years or moving somewhere exotic for a year, possibly forever.

Beta is in 41 hours.

Pili reports no pregnant feelings. Please tell me all your stories about not feeling the slightest bit pregnant until the baby popped out to remind me that this is not unusual.

I'm terrified that I will use up all my luck on this job thing and the beta will be negative.

(beta is in 41 hours)

Logically, I know there's no connection between the two. Speaking of which:

Superstition: Please Discuss

Two years ago, we found out that Sambar (orange kitty, sweetest cat on the planet earth) had a brain tumor. We came home from work one day and found her staggering around the house like a drunk, bumping into walls, meowing piteously, periodically collapsing on the floor. She went to see a kitty neurologist. Our options were paying $5000 for kitty brain surgery, or trying her on steroids to control the swelling. At one point, as we tried to face the reality of losing her, Pili suggested that maybe her soul was meant to be reincarnated in our child.

(Beta is in 41 hours)

Two years later, the steroids seem (so far, knock on wood, etc. etc.) to be working fine (aside from the diabetes side effect). And we still don't have a child. Coincidence? Superstition. I don't know. I hate to think there's a connection, but part of me wonders.

(Beta is in 41 hours)

So please distract me. Stop lurking and tell me: What are your superstitions?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Photo Friday Saturday: Baby Pictures

Baby Me

I was an early reader. And an early n*dist. One of those things has changed.

Little Me

It was pretty fun being three.

Note 1: These are probably the only pictures of me you'll ever see on here. My cats are much more photogenic than I am.

Note 2: I uploaded way too many India pictures to flickr and exceeded my upload limit for the month. And I'm too cheap to go pro.

Note 3: 3 days, 13 hours til beta. Not that I'm counting or anything.

Note 4: The interview went fairly well, I thought. I hate phone interviews in general - I feel I do much better in person. But overall, I thought it went pretty well. He did ask me why I moved here, since my previous jobs indicated a higher level of experience than what I'm doing now. I just said, for family reasons. Filial piety, thy name is Art-Sweet. And it sounds like a very interesting, very challenging, job - that I'd really enjoy. So we shall see.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


A letter in the mail from McClinic.

My stomach seizes up. I slide my finger under the flap. I hesitate. They would call if it was bad news, right? Maybe I should wait til Pili gets home to open it. Do I want to open it in front of Pili if it's bad news? Or do I want to process it myself first?

Visions of my hectic day - the lunch I'm now snacking on before dinner, the cookies and chex mix I actually ate for lunch (quick glance at the side of the bag of cookies, quick estimate that happens with barely a nod to counting and calculating) - spin through my head. Without opening the letter, I think, yes, this is what you get. You get what you deserve. For not always, every moment of the day, putting the disease first or even second. For being normal.

I open the letter, unfold the paper. Biting my lip, tensing up for the blow. Scan down the page.

Urine microalbumin or total protein: This is a test for early kidney damage due to diabetes. Normal levels are 30 mg/g of creatine or less. For this test to be significant, it must be consistenly above 30 on repeat testing... Microalbumin levels are also used to follow the rate of progression of kidney damage.

Your microalbumin was 2.0 . This result is considered: normal

Yes, this is what you get. You get what you deserve. For not always, every moment of the day, putting the disease first or even second. For being normal.

I don't know if this thought will be inspirational or terrifying for those of you in the OC whose children have diabetes. I hope it will be reassuring, because I can pretty much assure you that your children will not have AICs under 7 every day of their lives. And that that doesn't mean that their world is going to come crashing to a halt in a blind-limbless-incontinent mess.

In the comments over at Sandra's, Shannon wrote:

When you hear of complications, you can't take for face value that the individual did all they could to care for themselves properly. How often did they check themselves? Did they guess at doses or did they take care to calculate how much insulin they needed based on glucose numbers or carb counts?

It takes approximately 15-20 years for complications to show if they do at all.

There are a number of PWD's here who blog who have had diabetes for more than 15 yrs with Zero complications. They have tight control over their management. Do any of them have complications? No, they don't.

Have I been fortunate enough to avoid complications for twenty years so far? (knock on wood, don't notice me evil eye, keynahora, tut-tut-tut)


Is that attributable to my never guessing at doses and testing ten times a day?

Um, no.

Right now, I'm striving for four or five times a day - and that's born again diabetic territory for me. So do I deserve complications?


I guess what I'm trying to say is that, when you hear that someone doesn't have complications, you can't take on face value that they have done all they could to care for themselves properly. And on the flipside - when you hear of someone who has developed complications - you can't be sure that they didn't do everything possible to take care of themselves.

I can imagine that that's a pretty scary thought for the parent of a child with diabetes. All this work - this getting up in the middle of the night and calling at school and testing, testing, testing - might not make a difference.

That's not what I believe. The DCCT told us that it does make a difference.

But, it also means that maybe, it's okay to relax every once in a while.

And that no one deserves complications.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

suggestions needed

I have a phone interview later this week for a job I thought I really wanted.

In preparation, I googled the guy who will be interviewing me.

One of the things that came up was his alumnus of note profile from his undergrad institution. A pentecostal school. In which he talks about being guided by the lord in all that he does.

Am I a coward to think that maybe this is not the right job for me - just another nice jewish lesbian? How will I answer when he asks what brought me to city where I am perpetually underemployed (Pili's job)? Am I being close-minded to assume that we might not work all that well together?

On first glance, I pass as straight fairly easily. But I have no interest in being closeted. Which is not to say that I announce: "Hi, I'm Art-Sweet and I'm a Jewish Muffm*ncher" the minute we meet. But I'm going to talk about Pili the same way my straight friends talk about their partners. When you ask me what I did this weekend, well, Pili and I went skiing. We had friends over. We rented a movie and spent way too much time petting the cats.

Your honest feedback and advice, please!

A random postscript: Gmail gives you ads based on the content of your email. I get my comments emailed to me. So the ad I saw above my inbox, based on the comments from the last post?

"Fart Spray only $1.79 - - Why pay more somewhere else? Qty. disc. Secure online ordering."

I'm almost tempted. I mean, why pay more somewhere else?

Monday, March 13, 2006

How to describe?

... the mix of emotions I feel whenever we hand in our tickets, pass the "you must be so tall" sign and climb back aboard this ART rollercoaster? Or perhaps a better metaphor is the carnival games: you see the people wandering the midway at the state fair clutching huge stuffed tigers and you know that someone wins, sometimes. Despite the fact that you never seem to.

I can't help feeling hopeful. They wound up thawing four embryos; two were Grade B, one was so-so, and the fourth was probably-degenerating-but-you-never-know. We opted to put them all in. In this game, everything becomes significant: the u/s gel tube made a farting noise; Pili & I are inordinately amused by farting noises. It's an omen. A sign. This is The One.

And yet, I don't want to get my hopes up too high. As if I could protect myself from hurt by not hoping. How do you all do this?

p.s. Image hosted by Webshots.comSambar & Idli got an honorable mention for cutest cat couple. We are thrilled beyond measure!

Sunday, March 12, 2006


I figured out the bloglines thing. Took me FOREVER, but I did it. Email me if you'd like to know how - it's not really that complicated.

However, ever since I posted all the kitty porn, my sidebar has gone all the way down to the bottom. Anyone know why it's doing that and how I can fix it?

ETA: I moved the kitty pictures around so they are all in a long line, and it seems to have resolved the problem.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Photo Friday: aka I am a catlady...

Are my beasties not cute? C'mon Bri, choose me, choose me.

Not much else to say. The ass-shots have commenced, and really, you'd think that after plunging needles into my own body for twenty years, I'd be able to do it to someone else without flinching, stammering, wincing, and getting light headed. Instead, it's just another reason to hate mornings.

A random technical question: how do I get my bloglines blogroll to show in the sidebar? I have lots of folks I'd like to add to the list, but I'm too lazy to type them all in.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Give me an f! Give me an e!

... Give me a t... Okay, I'm sorry, I can't even muster enough enthusiasm for these poor little frozen embryo-yos to capitalize them. But abster asked for an update (thanks Abster! You get a capital A for Awesome) and so I dutifully report.

Pili went in for a wanding yesterday morning. Doctor Short but Sweet (he is indeed, both) or perhaps it was Nurse Practicioner Tall and Brusque (not really, but I like the contrast. And she is tall) pronounced her lining to be looking good. So next monday I will put on blue disposable scrubs and shoe covers and a lovely yellow hair net in order to be in the room and squeeze Pili's hand as Dr. SBS supposedly squeezes a couple of my de-frosted embryos into Pili. And then we cross our fingers, embark on the libido-lifting ritual of jabbing a mile long intra-muscular shot into Pili's tender flesh every morning, which really sweetie, hurts me more than it hurts you. Really. And then we wait, for two intensely, intensely, long weeks. Without alcohol.

For those of you who are going: huh? I thought you were adopting? Well, no matter what, we will be adopting down the road. Even if Pili does get pregnant via the defrosted lowercase embryos and winds up producing a child nine months later, we will still need to go through a home study and spend lots of money so that we are both legally the kiddo's moms. And why yes, that does make me bitter. Although grateful that I live in a solidly blue state where this is a possibility.

We're also starting to think through our options as far as different pathways to adoption and family building - domestic infant adoption vs. a couple of different international options - we have to figure out what makes the most sense for us. And we'll probably start doing the paperwork for the adoption even though we still have a few more embryos in the freezer (See OUCH Syndrome for an explanation of where all these embryos came from).

PhotoFriday this week is going to be tough. I have to choose ONE cute photo of the beasties. I may need some help with this...

Friday, March 03, 2006

Photo Friday: In the Closet

Q. What's in my closet?

A #1: Lots of people will probably make this joke, but um, definitely NOT ME.

A #2: A large black and white cat. The beasties, despite not having thumbs, have figured out how to push the sliding doors open by head butting them. There's usually at least one of them in there.

A#3: Another fabulous red shoe. Extremely uncomfortable, but fabulous.

A#4: Not really visible - a whip given to me as a joke by my lovely bridesmaids.

A#5: Lots of disorganized clothes.

A#6: A jar of change. My retirement savings plan, for right now. Also, lots of bags and bottles of syringes. Between infertility and diabetes, we generate a lot of medical waste. The local hospital accepts sharps on alternate tuesdays when the moon is full. As a result, my closet is full.

A#7: The one that makes me sad. On top, piles of karate gis, untouched for almost three years. When we moved to City I Dislike Intensely (CIDI), I left behind a karate dojo I loved - with a feminist ethic and devoted to non-violence. I was six months away from getting my black belt. I haven't found anything even remotely like it here, and have almost entirely given up my martial arts practice along with the joy, self-confidence, and strength I got from it. Even more than the career difficulties, this has been the hardest thing for me about this move. Sigh.

Closer upCould you kick him out of there? I didn't think so.

p.s. I also put up a bunch of photos on flickr from our India trip for the Naptime Books discussion of The God of Small Things. It's really strange to come inside from feeling the cutting wind against my cheeks and remember floating down river in a boat with the warm sun on my face just two short months ago.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bright Ideas for a Dismal Disease

I hijacked the comments over at Julia's with my list of "what I wish my parents had said to me" growing up as a Type I back in the dark old days of ChemStrips and wipe, wait, compare blood sugar monitoring. These were on my list:

  • I know it sucks to have to test your blood sugar at school/when you're with your friends/any time. No, but you really oughta shoulda. Just, IT SUCKS NOT TO BE ABLE TO BE A NORMAL KID.

  • I'm so proud of you FOR testing even when the numbers aren't where you want them to be.

  • You are so much more than the sum of your sugars. This disease is something WE have to control so that YOU get a chance to shine.

Anyone else have any tidbits to add? Disagree with my tidbits? Speak up!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Come for the Diabetes, Stay for the Soapbox

I know from looking at my sitemeter that most of the people who get here are coming via the awesome and all powerful diabetes OC. And I know that that means that, aside from some kind of personal connection to this lovely disease, we might not have a lot in common. We may not share political convictions. We may not share religious convictions. But you're here. And it's my blog. So, I hope you'll take a minute to listen.

Pili and I are married. In front of 100 of our friends and family, with officiants from both of our faith traditions, we pledged to be true to each other. To love each other through thick and thin, rich and poor - healthy and sick (boy, Pili got the short end of that stick!). Oh yes, and to spend $2000 on a second parent adoption so that we can both legally sign permission slips and take our theoretical children to the doctor. And we're lucky. We live in a state that permits second parent adoption. If you don't understand why we're making such a big deal about gay marriage, please read this. Our tax dollars at work, my friends. Our tax dollars at work.