The semester I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a student of mine started experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia. Anyone with type 1 diabetes knows the symptoms too well: confusion, shakiness, hunger. One day she stumbled into my office her hands shaking so hard she could barely check her blood sugar with the new meter she had just gotten from the drugstore. But when she did check, her blood sugar was in the 70’s; low enough to make most people feel hungry and perhaps cranky and confused, but not enough to cause the symptoms she was experiencing.
A string of doctor’s appointment and blood tests followed. But despite the obvious and increasingly severe symptoms she exhibited, all of the tests came back normal. Nothing appeared to be wrong with her pancreas.
By the end of the semester, she seemed to have symptoms of high blood sugar too: she was always thirsty and always needed the restroom. Even though she constantly drained and refilled her water bottle, her lips and skin were dry and cracked.
Still, all of the tests that the doctors could think to run indicated that she was perfectly fine. Clearly then, it was just all in her head.
After much research and pushing for an accurate diagnosis, she made a trip to the Mayo Clinic that revealed the true cause of her symptoms–a little known condition called diabetes insipidus. This form of diabetes has nothing to do with the body’s ability to make or use insulin; instead, it’s caused by the inability to make or use another hormone, vassopressin, which controls the body’s ability to concentrate urine. Because diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus are unrelated with the exception of a common symptom–excessive urination–people with the condition avoid putting the word “diabetes” on a medical alert jewelry. This former student and current friend now takes DDAVP, which helps regulate her body’s fluid levels.
You can read more about her insights and her journey to diagnosis at her blog, Diabetes Insipidus: It’s all about water.
Playing Dress Up (Photo credit: ohsohappytogether)
The sweet receptionist at the bridal boutique assured me that I would really feel like I was getting married after I tried on the first wedding dress. Several wedding dresses later, I didn’t feel any more engaged than I had when I first walked in.
I had tried on every kind of dress imaginable–lacy dresses and satiny dresses, full-skirted princess dresses and sleek A-line dresses. But each of the several-sizes-too-large try-on dresses swallowed me. I didn’t look like a bride; I looked like a little girl. I felt like one too. I just wanted to go home and watch Disney movies.
It wasn’t what I expected wedding dress shopping to be like. I expected something a little more glamorous and a little less like playing dress up.
As I plugged my pump back in, I asked my mom, “How long have we been here?”
Oops. I found unplugging and plugging and unplugging the pump while trying on different dresses a bit awkward, so I ended up tossing it in the dressing room with my jeans and my t-shirt. I had been without insulin for two hours. No wonder I didn’t feel so great.
I didn’t get my dress that day. But I did learn a lesson for future dress shopping:
Don’t leave your pump in the dressing room.
I’m an extrovert, I guess. But even extroverts need to be alone sometimes.
Introversion and extroversion aren’t absolute categories, really. They’re more like extreme points on a spectrum. We all fall on different points in this spectrum, moving up and down it as our moods and health and circumstances change. Lots of books and blogs are out there to tell introverts that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be alone. To be quiet. Extroverts need that reminder too, not only to help them understand the introverts in their lives but also to help them understand themselves.
Most peg me as an extrovert because I love to talk and hate to eat lunch alone. But I have some introverted qualities too. When I was an infant, I would cry to be put down for nap. During beach vacation my family took when I was five, I scared everyone by sneaking away to watch Scooby Doo by myself. The same little girl who made friends with everyone just needed to be alone.
I’ve always found that my introverted qualities strengthen during the summer. School takes drains me of both physical and emotional energy, so I need the summer to recharge. This summer I’ve needed more time to recharge than ever.
I’m in the middle of one of the biggest transitions I will ever make. I’ve only just finished up my graduate assistantship, an intense yet fulfilling period of my life. And my wedding is in 53 days. The wedding plans are placing a lot of demands on me, of course. There’s more than just the wedding plans to think about though. I’m going to be a wife in 53 days. This thought makes me feel very young and very full.
I’ve not withdrawn completely. I can’t withdraw completely and plan a wedding at the same time: I have phone calls to make and meetings to attend and decisions to make and shopping to do. I’ve spent several Saturdays in a row shopping for my wedding. But when I’m done with the shopping and the calls, I’m ready to be alone.
When I look back on this summer and wonder why I didn’t read more or blog more, this post will remind me why. I just needed a little quiet.
You know that Couch to 5K program I have been blogging about?
I finished it.
next to the last: the penultimate Couch to 5K jog
Like the one I ran on Tuesday.
Pre-workout blood sugar: 140 mg/dl
The workout: Same as the last few workouts
Post-workout blood sugar: 99 mg/dl
You know how I’ve been saying that Couch to 5K is a 10-week program?
It’s a 9-week program. And I’m about to start Day 2 of Week 9 in 15 minutes.
I always jog alone.
Ok, perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Before I began this program, I did go jogging with my brother and my sister a couple of times. My stamina was a bit lacking, so I didn’t go very far and I couldn’t carry a conversation. I probably pushed myself too hard. I was glad to spend time with my siblings, but I wasn’t eager to find a jogging partner when I started the Couch to 5K program last semester.
But then Tuesday night I got a text from a friend I hadn’t seen in a month, asking if I wanted to go for a jog. Sure, why not. I hadn’t seen her in a month. It would be nice to catch up.
My stamina has definitely improved, because I was able to keep a decent pace and still carry on a conversation–and not a particularly shallow one either. Both of us were surprised by how quick the 28-minute jog was over! I like jogging, but I’m acutely conscious of every second. But not Tuesday.
Pre-workout blood sugar: 139 mg/dl
The workout: 5 minutes warm up. 28 minutes jogging. 5 minutes cool down.
Post-workout blood sugar: 149 mg/dl
Only two more weeks before I finish the program!