Diabetes Insipidus: It’s the Other Diabeedus


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.





Dress Up

Playing Dress Up

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?”

“Two hours.”

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.


Couch to 5K Challenge Day 26: Jogging Buddies


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.

[Tuesday’s] Workout

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!

Couch to 5K Challenge Day 25: Knowing When to Stop


For a person with type 1 diabetes, saying that a successful jog requires adequate preparation is an understatement. I can’t just strap on my running shoes and head out the door:  I need to make sure that I’m hydrated and that I have enough insulin in my system to function but not so much that my blood sugar drops too fast. Thankfully, my pump does most of the math for me.

Sometimes I simply forget to prepare. I don’t decrease my basal rate far enough ahead. I don’t hydrate myself. I don’t charge my iPod. (I still can’t jog without a timer.) It’s frustrating when I either can’t jog or have to cut a jog short because I wasn’t paying attention.

That’s what happened last Tuesday.

But even more frustrating are the days when my body doesn’t cooperate with me. The days when my blood sugar drops drastically just before I planned on jogging, and by the time I’ve gotten it back up I have a pounding headache and feel mildly nauseated, so I end up watching TV instead because I feel sick and cranky.

That’s what happened last Sunday.

Since I am human, days like Tuesday will happen. Sometimes, my brain shuts off.

And days like Sunday will happen too. When my body tells me it’s time to stop, I need to listen.

[Thursday’s] Jog

Pre-workout blood sugar: 202 mg/dl

The workout: 5 minutes warm-up. 28 minutes jogging. 5 minutes cool down. No more walking intervals!

Post-workout blood sugar: 176 mg/dl

Couch to 5K Challenge Days 22, 23, and 24: No Reason to Feel Guilty


I am a highly driven,task-oriented  perfectionist. I set goals and make plans and create to-do lists. I get things done.

But I never seem to do things well enough to please myself. I could always do them better.

In some ways, I think my attention to detail and my drive to finish what I start are some of my best qualities. The world needs at least a few picky people: we’re the ones who proofread, who make sure a patient gets the correct dosage of some highly potent medicine, who check and check and check again to make sure an airplane is safe.

But as anyone who has ever been a perfectionist, parented a perfectionist, dated a perfectionist, or waved hello to a perfectionist on a sidewalk well knows, people like me need to chill.

Perfectionists sometimes find themselves in a fog of guilt that obscures their vision, making it hard to see their real failures or (more often) their real accomplishments. I don’t think all guilt is bad: sometimes, I should feel guilty. In those cases, it’s what I do with those feelings of guilt that’s the key.

But as I went jogging on Sunday, I reminded myself that there is no need for me to feel guilty about how often I jog. I’ve managed to stretch this 10 week program into something more like a 13 or 14 week program. The perfectionist in me doesn’t like that. The perfectionist in me doesn’t like the number of days I’ve missed and the fact that I’ve had to repeat some workouts. The perfectionist in me wants to stick to the plan, and the plan says 3 days a week for 10 weeks.

As I went jogging on Sunday, I gave the perfectionist in me a little talk. Remember, Self, the time when you couldn’t jog a full lap around the track? Remember when jogging for five minutes gave you stitches up your side and left you out of breath? Well, last Sunday, you jogged for a solid 25 minutes and you felt great. There’s no reason to feel guilty about that, even if you couldn’t go jogging on Tuesday this week.

No reason to feel guilty at all.

[Tuesday’s] Workout

Pre-workout blood sugar: 244 mg/dl

The workout: 5 minutes warm-up. 25 minutes jogging. 5 minutes cool-down.

Post-workout blood sugar: 220 mg/dl

[Thursday’s] Workout

Pre-workout blood sugar: 290 mg/dl

The workout: same as Tuesday’s

Post-workout blood sugar: 150

[Sunday’s] Workout

Pre-workout blood sugar: 85

The workout: ditto

Post-workout blood sugar: 197

Couch to 5K Challenge Days 19, 20, and 21: This post is not an excuse…


…it’s more like an update.

The past two weeks have consisted of moving everything out of my office

My office as I was packing it up

It was like packing up the last two years of my life.

and my dorm room

My dorm room, half packed

Just looking at the picture makes me stressed.

My stuff packed up and waiting in the hallway to be moved

This was just the first carload of stuff. I had three carloads total.

and moving all of it into a new dorm room


My room for the next three months.

My room for the next three months.

My graduate assistantship ended on May 3rd. I still have a semester left of graduate school, but since I will be student teaching in the fall, and since it’s physically impossible to student teach and meet the obligations of a GAship at the same time without cloning yourself, I’m just a student now.

This week  I started a my new summer job proofreading, moved into my new dorm room, and met my new roommate, who has been forcefeeding me delicious homemade Chinese food.

I’ve also transformed into something of an introvert as I’m still recovering from the semester. I don’t anticipate I’ll be blogging much for the next month, since I’m pouring all of my social energy into wedding planning. But I have completed a full week of Couch to 5k. Finally.

[Tuesday’s] Workout

Pre-workout blood sugar: 130 mg/dl

The workout: 5 minute warm up. 5 minutes jogging, 3 minutes walking, 8 minutes jogging, 3 minutes walking, 5 minutes jogging. 5 minute cool down.

Post-workout blood sugar: 188 mg/dl

[Thursday’s] Workout

Pre-workout blood sugar: 116 mg/dl

The workout: 5 minute work up. 8 minutes jogging, 3 minute walking, 10 minutes jogging, 3 minutes walking, 8 minutes jogging. 5 minute cool down.

Post-workout blood sugar: 128 mg/dl

[Sunday’s] Workout

Pre-workout blood sugar; 156 mg/dl

The workout: 5 minute warm up. 25 minutes jogging. 5 minutes cool down.

Post-workout blood sugar: 74 mg/dl