Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Birth of a Princess

Twelve short years ago, my dear and few readers, a very special birth took place. 
I remember that day like it was (literally) yesterday.
I had been sick for some time.  It was during this pregnancy that I had been diagnosed as having type 1 diabetes.  My body wasn't doing so well.  All my internal organs had started shutting down.  And I was sick as a dog. 
I woke up that morning with really high blood sugars and I wouldn't stop vomiting.  I wasn't even due till April 30th of that year, but I knew something was horribly wrong.  John was on the phone with my OB/GYN, who after hearing my symptoms, told us not to wait, but to go straightaway to Philadelphia (Pennsylvania Hospital) where my specialist was. 
I started to cry for the millionth time that morning and we packed up our belongings and called our parents.  John called his and I called mine.  We knew it was time. 
It didn't feel like it was time.  After all, I wasn't having labor pains or contractions.  I mean, I was feeling sick, but not at all what I thought labor would feel like.  But, something huge was about to happen, and John and I knew it.  John later told me that I had started to turn a yellow-ish color.  I didn't feel any color, but green - because I must've thrown up at least two dozen times that day.
So, after the hour's commute to Philadelphia, I was admitted immediately and assigned a labor room.  I am telling you that not only did I feel like I was dying, I looked like I was dying.  My feet were the size of bowling balls, my body had a very strange yellow hue to it, I remember feeling as though I wasn't going to make it. 
The nurses came in and wanted to start an IV right away.  But I was so blown up that they had a hell of a time finding a vein.  First, they would give me a numbing needle, then poke around to find a vein.  They poked me, without exaggeration, at least 50 times trying to get this IV in me.  I felt like I was in hell.  They also had me hooked up to the monitor to see if I was having contractions.  All I could hear was my daughter's heartbeat. 
thump.  thump.  thump.  thump. 
Over and over again.
Good.  I remember thinking.  She's still kicking.So, as they were still trying to get the IV in me, a nurse pulled John out into the hall.  I had no idea what the nurse was saying to him.  But when John came back into the room, he took my hand and he had tears in his eyes. 
I wanted to ask him what was wrong, but at that moment I heard a nurse say, "Yes!  We got a vein!"
So, with IV hooked up and meds kicking in I was placed in a room to await the news as to what was going to happen.  By this time, my folks and John's folks had made the trek to Philadelphia.  I saw my parents first.  The look in their eyes told me that whatever they had heard wasn't good.  I still hadn't heard anything.  I was too busy puking and feeling bad. 
My mom was crying, but in a way that she didn't want me to know she was crying.  Behind my mom, my mother in law had walked in. 
Unbeknownst to me, my mother in law was celebrating her birthday.  I had no idea!  But, kind as she is, she just sat there with me for hours on end!  She crocheted and hummed to me and held my hair back for me while I puked. 
So, I spent an awful night in that hospital room.  Didn't eat anything, although to be honest, I don't know if I wanted to eat.  Nurses came in and out all night long, giving me this, replacing that.  I was so out of it, I wouldn't have noticed a tornado if it had come through. 
I was told by my specialist that I was going to have a C-section the next day. 
I protested, saying that it was too early. 
He looked at me and said it was the only way to save my life.  And that they were going to give me steroids in three injections to try and jump start my baby's lungs.  But, if they were to wait any longer to take my baby out, I was surely going to die.  All my organs had started to shut down.  Which is why I had turned yellow.  Which is why I had ballooned up.  Which is why I felt so very sick. 
So, it was either, stay pregnant and die or have a C-section too early.  I obviously picked the latter.  We live in a good medical age, where I knew my baby's chances were good, even it I was two and half months early. 
I remember John coming into my room, wearing scrubs.  I almost didn't recognize my own husband.  But all I need to do was look into his loving and worried eyes.  John sat there with me, smoothing my hair away from my face and holding my hand.  We didn't say much.  What could we say?  We knew the situation was bleak.  But, there wasn't much to do but wait for the nurse wheel me into delivery. 
By six o'clock that night, the nurses had started the procedures for an emergency C-section.  Sign here, initial there.  I had no idea what I was signing.  But, was too ill and worried and scared to even care.   I must've looked like death because the look on everyone's faces was just a look of pure concern.  John was as white as a ghost.  My parent's faces were red and tear stained. 
So, in the delivery room, I was given another IV, a huge needle in the back and then strapped down.  I looked over at one of the nurses and ended up throwing up a final time before they had started to cut me open.  The doctor called John around to look all my organs. 
I remember him saying to John.  "Hey, you hunt right?  Take a look at this!" 
There was blood everywhere!  I couldn't believe that I could lose so much and still be alive. 
The doctor said something about me feeling pressure on my chest, and then I heard John say, "Here she comes!"  
And then at 6:57 pm, my daughter Olivia Joy came into this world.
And oh my goodness.  What a beautiful and tiny miracle she was!
She "tipped" the scales at three pounds, five ounces.  John was holding her, crying.  I kinda stretched my head to get a look at her.  One of the many nurses in the room kinda held her to my chest, and my first words were, "She's perfect."  
As I muttered those two words, my baby opened her eyes in recognition of my voice.  That's all it took.  I was in love. 
Then I could feel the doctor doing something "down there" and he explained that I was being "stapled back together." 
Olivia was taken to the hospital's NICU where she would be hooked up to monitors and breathing machines and kept warm till I could muster enough strength to visit with her later. 
John kissed me and off I went to recovery. 
I fell asleep in the recovery room, and had heard later that this is when the rest of my family had shown up at the hospital.  The rest of John's family had shown up as well. 
I was in the hospital for another week or so and then released to go home   Olivia, unfortunately couldn't join us.   She was too tiny and fragile to come home.  She stayed in the hospital for another 6 weeks before she was released. 
But, there you have it.  The birth of a preemie princess. 
That was 12 years ago. 
And what a magnificent (and sometimes scary) 12 years it's been. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Diabetes broken down

What a frustrating disease I have. 
I can't stand being a type 1 diabetic.  It's an inconvenient and painful chronic disease that I may never see a cure for in my lifetime.
I'm inspired by children and adults alike who have type 1 diabetes and have to live with the stupid questions and comments by people who don't know what they are talking about.
"So, I guess you'll have to lose weight to get rid of your diabetes."
THAT IS the MOST frustrating thing I've heard, throughout all my years as a type 1 diabetic.  Let's break it down a little for people who think they know it all about diabetes.
This is taken from the web and I will explain my own situation afterwards

Type I Classification

  • The majority of individuals with Type I diabetes develop the disease as children. Diabetes develops because the lost beta cells in the Islets of Langerhans within the pancreas prohibit insulin production. Individuals with Type I diabetes must be on the lookout for skin disorders, nerve damage in the feet, eye care and maintain good dental health.
I am a type 1 diabetic.  I wasn't diagnosed though as a child.  I was 19 when the doctors think I started to show symptoms and at age 20 I was diagnosed.  I was also about 2 months pregnant when I was initially diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. 
"But, Sylvia.  Isn't that what they call gestational diabetes?"
Yes and no.
Being that I was pregnant, it technically was gestational diabetes.  But, since I actually had it before I got pregnant, it's type 1.  It doesn't even matter anyhow.  My type 1 diabetes was still there after I gave birth to my daughter.  And I was given a C-peptide test to confirm this diagnosis.
A C peptide test is explained below.
C-peptide is used to monitor insulin production and to help determine the cause of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). The test is not ordered to help diagnose diabetes, but when a person has been newly diagnosed with diabetes, it may be ordered by itself or along with an insulin level to help determine how much insulin a person's pancreas is still producing.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune process that often starts in early childhood and involves the almost complete destruction of the beta cells over time. Eventually, little or no insulin is produced, leading to a complete dependence on exogenous insulin.

So, my body no longer produces any insulin.  At all.  In order to live, I have to inject myself 6 times a day with insulin, both fast acting and long lasting.  If I didn't have insulin injections, my body would start to die, and therefore, so would I.

Type II Prevention/Solution

  • Type II diabetes develops from insulin resistance. Insulin sensitivity can be restored with modest weight loss; as little as 10 to 15 lbs. can make a difference. Over 90 percent of individuals who lose weight and keep it off do it through a combination of diet and exercise. Until insulin sensitivity is restored, individuals with Type II diabetes may have to take insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetics are the ones who's body still produces some insulin.  Now, don't get me wrong, both types are bad.  I'm not saying I'd rather have type 2.  If I had it my way, I'd not have any disease and be working every day to contribute something to society.  But, the fact is, I'm a type 1 diabetic. 

Another thing people say that gets on my nerves is this
"You can get rid of yours, can't you?  I have a relative that got rid of their diabetes."
People!  Get a hold of your tongues! 
No, I cannot get rid of my diabetes.  And it's so frustrating to hear that!
Another thing that bothers me is when a type 2 diabetic compares themselves to me.  They talk as if we're the same.  We're not.  Not even close.
As a type 2, they can (and should want to) get rid of their disease.  They could shed some weight, eat better and eventually lose their insulin resistance and say goodbye to diabetes. 
As a type 1, no matter what I eat, no matter how much weight I lose, no matter how good or bad I feel, I will NEVER get rid of my diabetes.  NEVER.  Unless a cure is found, I will be injecting myself daily and checking my blood glucose several times a day...
A few days ago, I had a migraine.  It was a horrible day.  I woke up with a blood sugar of 166 (not bad) but since I had a migraine and was unable eat anything, I did not give myself an injection of insulin.  I simply took some medicine for my migraine, grabbed an ice pack and went back to bed. 
I woke back up, still had a migraine, but wanted to check my blood sugar.  This was around 12ish.  I had a reading of 244.  That's pretty high.  But, still, since I had a really awful migraine, couldn't eat.  I also didn't give myself an injection of insulin.  I popped another migraine pill and tried to sleep my horrible head pain away.  At 3 pm, I woke up feeling "not right".  I rolled out of bed, and realized that I may have extremely low blood sugar.  (FYI, sometimes I feel a low, other times I can't)
So, I checked my blood sugar and it was an extremely low 36.  John, who happened to be home (thank God) made me something to eat and I was able to raise my glucose to a better number. 
So, um... yeah... I wish people would just stop and think before they opened up their mouths about diabetes.  I too was stupid before I was diagnosed.  I just didn't know what I was talking about.  But, in the same respect, being that I was ignorant, I usually kept my mouth shut when someone would talk about their diabetes. 
There's one constant though, from back then to now:
There's no shortage of stupid in this world.  And that itself is frustrating...

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Migraine Hangover

As a migraine sufferer for many years, I've taken all the medicines under the sun for a migraine.  Today, I spent the day popping Fioricet and hoping for the best. 
While it finally kicked in, about three doses later, I was on the phone with my doc to call in a new prescription strength pill for my horrible and draining migraines. 
She obliged, and eventually called in a drug called Maxalt.  I've taken that miracle drug before.  And while it is a very highly effective pill in relieving my migraines, it leaves me in a fog after taking it. 
That is what I like to call a "migraine hangover". 
What is a migraine hangover? 
Good question.
A migraine hangover comes immediately following a migraine.  I've taken the allotted amount of medicines. It's the point where the head is no longer pounding, I no longer feel like putting a gun to my head, and lights and noises no longer make me want to scream.  The migraine is gone, but I still have a headache... a distant, but ever present, dull pain.  During one of these hangovers, I feel like I'm walking through mud.  Or in a fog.  Not really "all there."  My limbs feel as though they weigh a hundred pounds and I have trouble comprehending even the simplest of things.  What an odd feeling it is.  There are times during a migraine hangover that I almost feel euphoric. 
I am not sure if the various drugs I've taken cause these "hangovers".  I mean, I've had migraines since I hit puberty.  I can clearly remember my very first migraine attack.  I was just 12 years old.  I really thought I was dying.  My migraines weren't as frequent back then like they are now.  The older I got, the more frequent they became.  My first prescription strength pill was given to me before I could even drive a car.  And even thinking about that time, I cannot clearly recall if I had what I like to call the "migraine hangover."
I do know that all of my different health issues will fuel the migraines I get today.  For instance, a dip and then sudden  rise in my blood glucose levels will trigger a headache that ALWAY turn into a full fledged migraine.
And believe me, a headache is NOT a migraine. I love it when I am out and about, and someone is standing in line at the post office or at the grocery store telling the clerk that they have a migraine.  No they don't.  If they had a migraine, they wouldn't be standing anywhere.  They'd be in bed trying to get rid of said migraine. 
I've gotten migraines while I was out.  I'm immediately doubled over in pain, crying, and begging for anything that people have in their purses or pockets (if I don't have my migraine pills) - ibuprofen, Tylenol, ANYTHING...There were times when I had to call John to come get me to take me home because I couldn't stand the sunlight enough to drive home. 
One of these days, a miracle migraine pill will come along.  Not the ones you take to get rid of one.  A pill that actually prevents them from happening in the first place.  I'll be first I line for those pills.  If a pill like that already exist, let me know.  So far, the hundreds of different doctors I've visited in different times in my life have never told me about such a pill. 
I know it seems like every blog I write has some sort of ailment in it that I'm complaining about. 
While that is true, it's also a big part of who I am. I have many, many health issues.  Many complaints.  Many problems.  But it's also one of the reasons why I even started to blog anyway.  I feel as I might help at least one person out there who may be afflicted like I am...
So, I guess that's it for now...
Till next time...