This episode of Dawn’s Sh*tshow life brought to you by the letter “S”

Hi Friends,

Warning: this is a LONG post. Got lots to say. 

I haven’t been AS active on social media as I typically am because I’ve spent the last week or so recovering from a concussion.   I am fine now, but feel the need to explain why/how it happened to my friends and loved ones so that it does not happen to those I care about.  It is both an embarrassing, yet eye opening experience for me and feel I need to share.  I live my life pretty transparently.  I am pretty much an open book.

All my unfortunate or funny stories about my life typically start with: “So there I was, minding my own business…”  And I was!  Teresa (my sister) and I have recently decided that my life could easily be a sit-com and we’ve nicknamed my episodes “Dawn’s Shitshow Life.” This episode is brought to you by the letter “S”

Friday the 12th, I traveled to Charlotte with my sister and nephew and stayed the night.  They had tickets to a basketball game and planned to pick up their new puppy the following morning.  I was happy to tag along because I have friends that live in Charlotte, and planned to have dinner with them Friday night.

While Teresa and Robbie went to the game, I met my friends Heather and Mindy for dinner.  (BTW- Nellie’s Southern Kitchen in the Belmont area of Charlotte is FANTASTIC!)

While at Nellie’s, I had a great (keto-friendly) meal, and had wine with my dinner.  I had 4 glasses of wine – sounds like a lot but they were small pours…maybe 4-5 oz each.  And if you know me at all, you know I love wine.  And over the course of 2-2.5 hours I was at dinner, that’s not a huge amount.

Mindy took me back to my hotel about 10-10:30.  I was in bed by 11.

At 3:30 I woke up to go to the restroom.  That’s when the world went black-literally.

While in the bathroom, I stood up and immediately fell to the ground.  I don’t remember actually falling, but remember waking up on the cold floor, shivering, with my back to the bathtub and my face toward the toilet.  I got up, reached for the door, and immediately fell again.  Teresa asked from the other side of the door if I was alright, because she’d heard the commotion both times I fell.  I answered with no urgency that I was fine.  I didn’t feel badly…Did I think it was odd that I passed out?  Yep.  But I couldn’t verbally tell her.  I walked to the bed and this time she SAW me fall.  It’s as if my legs just gave out from under me.  Down I went again, hitting the furniture on the way down.  “DAWN MARIE!!! ARE YOU ALRIGHT?” The urgency in her voice was bone chilling.    AGAIN- I said that I was fine, and why was she asking?  She explained that I’d fallen.  I asked ….”Teresa, Am I on the floor again?” Indeed I was.

I am going to tell you that I’ve witnessed scary shit happen to other people- but this is the most bizarre thing to ever happen to ME.  I felt weird.  I had a terrible headache and was kind of confused.  Because I suffered a head injury as an infant, because I suffered a concussion as a teenager, and because my husband had a concussion last year, I am very sensitive for anyone having head trauma. Teresa took me to the ER, which is the first time I’d ever heard the word “Syncope.” Syncope x 3 was what the ER personnel told the ER nurse as she wheeled me back to triage.  Hell if I knew what syncope was, but I was fixin’ to learn all about it.

Definition of syncope :1 : loss of consciousness resulting from insufficient blood flow to the brain : faint

I go through the events of the prior evening with the nurse and the ER doctor.  From triage, they do a chest scan and take lots of blood for testing.  On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain, I rated the headache about a 5.  I had an EKG and a CT Scan of my head.  The 30 minutes between the CT and the doctor coming to see me felt like HOURS.  I just KNEW by the pain I was in that he was gonna tell me I had cracked my head open…had a tumor, aneurism…somethin’ bad about to happen!  I just knew it.

Fortunately, I did not have ANY of those.  Just a concussion.  However, the ER doctor had some private questions for me and asked my sister and nephew to leave the room.  We all thought that was odd.  ER doctor listens to my heart, asks how I am feeling and asks if I have anything additional to tell him about the events the prior night.  I give him an odd look and sheepishly answer “no.”  He asked if I take Adderall or any other amphetamine. I answer NO.  He asks if perhaps I did street drugs last night?  I answered HELL NO?! He explained that I tested positive for amphetamines. 

WHAT.THE.ACTUAL.HELL?

I only take one prescription and have been taking it for years.  I did however, start taking a weight loss supplement about 2.5 weeks prior.  I show him what it is – nothing in it screams bad contents.  He explains that I was dehydrated and was a little low on potassium.  Our care plan is to give me some fluids via IV and some potassium.  They want to keep me for observation and have an echocardiogram.  By this time, I sent my sister and Robbie to pick up their puppy. Jason and Haley will come and stay with me and take me home Sunday.  When they arrived, I sweet talked the nurse into letting me go home with them Saturday afternoon if I promise to be a good girl and get an echo Monday.  They agreed that I was out of immediate danger and let me go.

We left there thinking my body just had created the perfect little shit storm: already dehydrated+ stimulant in the supplement+ tannins in the wine= syncope.  That was the diagnosis.  But I wasn’t buying it.  I have fainted in the past.  I have had bottles of wine in the past and never lost consciousness. I suspected something different happened.

What I failed to mention to the doctor didn’t seem important at the time.  But it turned out to be VERY important.  From the time Mindy dropped me off at the hotel to the time I met up with my sister and nephew, I was alone in the hotel’s street-level bar for about 15-20 minutes.  It was warm that day, so the side doors were open.  It was Uptown Charlotte on a Friday night, so it was really busy. I ordered a beer and saw the bartender open it. BUT- I turned my back to the bar to watch the band that was playing.  My back was turned to the beer, the side doors.  LOTS of foot traffic around me.  Rarely am I ever in a bar alone.  I did not practice good self-defense., as I was looking at my phone, looking at the band and drank about half the beer.

I met my sister and Robbie in the bar entrance and was fine.  How do you go from walking, talking, and functioning at 10-11pm to losing consciousness 3 times just hours later? My answer is that I think someone put something in my drink. I didn’t really think about it until the next day when I mentioned it to my sister, and then to my husband.  He thought there was no way it was possible.  But my sister, like me- suspected that it happened because she SAW the state I was in.  Imagine walking into an invisible wall and just falling with all of your body weight to the ground.

My back is covered with black and blue bruises from mid-section to my tailbone.  My neck felt like invisible hands were wrapped around me, as if to strangle me.  My head hurt all last week from the impact.  The confusion lasted for a couple of days.  And any screen time, whether it was from my computer or phone, seemed to make the headache return.  I couldn’t read spreadsheets.  I couldn’t bear to watch TV.  All I could do was sleep and do minor things in my house. No driving, either.

I should also mention that when I returned home, I visited my family doctor.  I showed her the packaging of the supplement I was taking. She also agreed that most of the ingredients were plant based. There were some natural stimulants, but nothing in it screamed to her that it was bad. So 2 doctors agreed that the supplement was not likely the culprit, and my dehydration levels were not SO low that they should have knocked me on my behind. Let’s say your dehydration levels are 1-5.  Mine was a 3.7.  Not terrible.

SO- the moral of this episode of Dawn’s Shitshow Life is:

  • Don’t take supplements that your doctor doesn’t know about- JUST in case they are bad for you. Why was I taking them to being with, you may ask…especially since I have had weight loss surgery?  Because GUILT! Guilt of gaining 25 pounds since last March is such a heavy burden.  I had a “Come to Jesus” talk with myself while in the ER.  Weight Loss Surgery is the pinnacle of choices when it comes to weight loss.  I made that choice and PAID for that choice out of pocket.  My husband tells me to stop letting the guilt get to me and who cares about the money?  The money is not important.  My health is important.  I often say I  have reasons for the gain.  But they are often excuses.  I keep 3 humans in my home alive each day.  And I am not exaggerating when I say sometimes that is a real chore.  A type 1 diabetic who is lazy about checking her sugars, a stroke patient who is still finding his way back to good health…and me…a WLS patient who needs to remember rules instead of breaking them!
  • Drink all the water! I already drink at least 80oz of water a day. But when I am doing low carb, I require more water.  And if I am having any kind of wine or beer, I now order a water to go with it.  So what if I spend more time in the restroom!  And I am not taking that supplement anymore.  And I will never take another one.  I promised Jason I would not go back to a low carb diet until after my physical/ blood work comes back.
  • BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS IN A BAR!  Bar, restaurant, wherever beverages are being served. Especially if you are a woman and especially if you are alone!  If this can happen to a 49 year old woman, it can happen to ANYONE!  Did you know Charlotte is the human trafficking capital in North Carolina?  What if my sister hadn’t come to meet me at the bar and walk back to my room with me?  The “what if’s” haunt me each time I lay my head down at night.  I keep repeating the events in my head. The waking up after each fall is startling to me.  I hate that I am so naive sometimes.  I am so trusting.  Now, when I go out with my husband, or even to lunch/dinner with friends, I find myself studying the room.  I take my drink, even if it is water, with me. Or I will ask my friend to keep their eyes on it while I am in the restroom.  I hate this distrust that I all of a sudden feel. 

Please use my experience to help you going forward.  I am lucky I didn’t really hurt myself.  I am really lucky my sister was with me and was able to help me.  While we waited for the results of that CT scan last Saturday morning, I prayed those big prayers.  Like the one I prayed when Haley was in the hospital with her T1D diagnosis.  The one where I prayed with all my might for my mother to fight breast cancer- and she did.  And the one where I got down on my knees in a dirty hospital floor and begged Jesus to help my husband recover from his stroke…and again, my prayers were answered.  I prayed Saturday to please let it not be anything serious.  And it wasn’t.  I feel incredibly blessed for His mercies.  And if you’re reading, I feel blessed to have your attention on this post so that this does not happen to YOU.

Feeling especially blessed and in God’s favor,

Dawn

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Overdue 4 month VSG progress update and reacquainting with an old friend

It’s been OVER four months since my Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy and I am a bad blogger for not updating sooner.  I feel like I am currently experiencing 5671275 “WTF’S” per hour:) This time of year is a really busy time for me in my work life.  I don’t have a whole lot of stress in my professional life, but when it comes to months May through July, I am a little over the edge.  BUT- even through the busy times, this year has differed from years past and I’ll tell you why.

In the past, I’d sit down at my computer with a drink and a snack and work until wee hours of the night prepared for my late-July deadline.  Sometimes I’d eat dinner at my desk.  Sometimes I’d not eat at all.  It just depends on how busy I am.  Right now, I am preparing for the deadline and do not feel the need to mindlessly eat and drink while I work.  I find I get up from my desk more to move around…where in years past, I’d sit so long my back and behind would be sore.  My right arm would be so tense from using the mouse and my shoulder would lock up because I had not gotten up to loosen it up.  This year I feel very different, and I mean that in the best way possible.

My mind feels healthy and so does the rest of me:)

I’ve mentioned before that my VSG journey has been pretty much non-eventful with no complications.  I’ve also mentioned before that my progress is MUCH slower than I think other WLS patients experience.  To date, I am about 45 pounds down since mid-February when I started my pre-op, liver shrinking diet. Don’t get me wrong. I am HAPPY to have lost 45 pounds!  I am more than half way to my goal.  I think we generally think that if someone has WLS, we expect huge weight loss numbers in record time.  Lots of people do experience that.  I am just not one of them.  LOL.

As I lose weight, lots of things are happening.  Good things.  I have explored a new area of my closet for smaller clothes! I am no longer in “plus” size clothes, though I probably have a few items of that size because they are comfortable.  But generally, I am in Missy sizes now.  Even my feet are changing…my shoes don’t fit the same anymore, but not so much that I can’t wear them.  It’s just weird.  Good weird. Due to the vitamins I take, my hair, skin and nails are all pretty healthy.  I am moving more fluidly, and more confidently. I can’t say I LIKE ALL the activities I do at the gym, but I find myself choosing more adventurous classes than my typical DREADmill routine.  I find myself sleeping better, eating less, and moving more.  And most importantly, I am remembering what health and fitness feels like.  I still have a long way to go.  But I feel like I have really accomplished a lot these last four months.  Somebody asked me if I am proud of myself.  I wouldn’t say proud…I’d say pleased with my progress.  I’ll be proud when I reach my goal.  I am hoping I reach it by my December birthday.

With weight loss surgery comes some not so fun things, too.  I mentioned having healthy hair- and it is healthy, but I am losing it like crazy.  VSG patients typically lose hair between months 3-9.  When it didn’t happen at 3 months, I figured it wouldn’t happen.  Was I ever wrong!  Now I can really sympathize with my sister and cousin, who both experienced hair loss during their journeys.  It is a good thing I have ridiculously thick hair because it’s working in my favor during this loss stage.  And since I am losing it, I shouldn’t color it.  If you know me in real life, you know that Miss Clairol and I are BFF’s.  I’ve been coloring my hair since I was 13.  My first gray hair appeared and subsequently was dyed when I was 22.  I am 60% gray.  I color every 3 weeks.  Can’t do that now for fear of losing even more.  So…I reckon I’m just gonna go Au Naturale!   Can’t say as I like this.

Then there’s the loss of things we as women really don’t wanna lose.  I gave away 2 brand new Victoria’s Secret bras to my sister, who is already well-endowed.  I did not get those genes.  Teresa got all the boob genes! LOL.

I’ve shared some of the good and not so good.  But I am pretty excited to share with you one of the better things to happen in my post-VSG life. I have reacquainted myself with an unlikely former friend.  And that friend is Sobriety.

At least one of you reading, who knows me and my relationship with beer, has already assumed I am drunk as I type:)   I assure you, I am not.  

Weight Loss Patients are encouraged NOT to drink for at least a year after surgery.  Some will tell you it is because there’s a dependency transfer.  People who are addicted to eating large quantities/bad types of FOOD are food addicts, right?  Well, since our tummies are so small, we cannot ingest those big quantities and bad foods will likely make us sick.  So the food addiction gets transferred to alcohol in SOME patients. (That is not the case for me)

Another reason is that some of our organs, like the liver, are traumatized after WLS and need time to recover.  Adding alcohol to an already-small-as-a-banana-stomach and a traumatized liver may result in damage to those organs. I have not found this to be harmful to me personally, although my doctor did recently say my liver enzyme counts were slightly elevated.  it could be due to medication, though and nothing to do with alcohol.  I would say I have 2 glasses of wine or a cocktail one night a week.  And 2 will do me just fine.  That’s my new limit. Anything more than that will leave me with a splitting headache the next morning. AND alcohol slows down the loss process, in my opinion, so I don’t have much.

In real life, you know that I LOVED beer.  I loved beer like I can’t even describe.  And I live near 4-5 breweries.  My husband and I loved to spend an afternoon tasting different kinds of beers.  He’s an IPA guy.  I am a Hefeweizen kinda girl.  or I was:)  Beer is a no-no due to the carbonation and the carbs.  I was prepared for this when I decided to have the surgery.  so far it has not been hard to comply.  I did have a tiny taste of a blueberry blonde ale a few days ago.  A little taste was heavenly!

Admittedly, I am kinda digging this stage of my journey.  I know my limits now.  That doesn’t mean I won’t test the limits now and again as my body changes.  Don’t worry, my Hot Tub Mermaids, I’ll still be able to have cocktails with you on the beach! I just have to sip them a little slower than usual! But I don’t think I will ever revert back to the frequency of drinking like before.  I have not missed the next-morning headaches or sluggishness.  I have embraced the clarity I feel.  My to-do’s get DONE.  I say all of this now, but my work deadline is coming up and I may just say the hell with it all and drink a bottle of vodka.

LOL.  No, I won’t. For real- I feel strong, and healthy. And I love that so many people in my life, whether we’ve met in the weight loss community, or we’ve been friends for years, the outpouring of support I’ve received has been nothing short of amazing.  If you’re considering WLS and need some guidance, I would love to tell you more about it, and if I am not one to help, there’s a whole WLS community out there that is incredibly helpful.

Thank you so much for coming by to read my little update.  Four months into the journey and it’s not been that difficult.  Who knew I could live without beer or carbohydrates in general?  Who would have ever thought?!?

There’s some crazy stuff happening in our world right now.  Sometimes it is hard to find the silver linings….sometimes it is hard to recognize our blessings.  If you can’t find a blessing….go be one<3

 

XOXOX,

DMG

Post Op: week 11. Milestones and Mayhem

Hello Again:)

I feel like this might be a rambling session today since my thoughts are all over the place, hence the mayhem reference in the title today.

Lots of things going on in my world.  Yesterday was week 11 post op Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy.  It was also the day for my check-in with Dr. Bruce. I wasn’t scheduled to go until my actual 3 month post op visit on 6/3 but we scheduled some time last month for a weight check since his staff knew I was concerned about how slow I am losing.  Since the visit lasts month, I only lost THREE pounds.  Yep.  Their scale yesterday showed only a 3 pound loss. I was heartbroken.  Not surprised, but still heartbroken.

I am losing far slower than anyone could have guessed.  Many VSG patients lose double digit numbers in a month.  I try not to compare myself to others, but it is really hard not to do that when I’ve seen with my own eyes the good this surgery can do on an obese person.  When Dr. Bruce talked with me yesterday, I jokingly said “Last month when I was here, you told me you had only 3 patients out of 900+ who were resistant to sleeve surgery.  I think I may be your 4th.” He replied and said “It looks like you might be.”

And I felt as if each word went directly to my soul and stabbed me.  Immediately, the tears started pouring. I recounted all the pre-op testing, the lifestyle changes I’ve made, the financial burden I’ve put on my family…and the tears just wouldn’t stop. And what’s worse, is that there is no rhyme or reason that a person is sleeve resistant.  You’d think cutting away 2/3 of your stomach would make anyone lose weight, right?  Not so much.

But even though it is POSSIBLE that I am resistant to it, it’s also possible I am not.  Maybe I am just losing slowly and steadily.  Maybe I am being impatient.  Maybe I am doing something wrong with my diet.  I have been very comfortable in this food stage.  I’ve had no issues reintroducing new foods into my diet. Have never really gotten sick…have had no complications.  I weigh my food.  The only time I’ve colored outside of the lines is when I had a cocktail and that has only happened 3 times.  I realize alcohol can slow down weight loss, but I don’t think 3 cocktails at different times is gonna halt it.  I think I got carried away with how comfortable I was and though I log my food in MFP, perhaps I ate too many carbs too often.   I don’t know.  But I DO know I’d rather lose slowly than have complications and lose quickly.  And losing slowly will also help prevent sagging skin and losing my hair.  Those are 2 things commonly associated with rapid weight loss.

The doctor and I talked about next steps to jump start the loss again.  I am going to try to do the protein shakes during the day with a lean/green meal for dinner, much like I did with the pre-op diet.  I did that yesterday and am following it today.  And I am HANGRY.  That is another oddity in this journey.  Most people who have VSG do not feel hunger.  But I do, and I have since the surgery.  I am really reeling in the carb situation.  I thought I was doing really well since I often am under 50 carbs per day.  But I am examining the types of carbs I eat and really trying to eat the good ones.  We’re also trying something I said I’d never do again.  I am back on Phentermine again for a few months to jump start the loss again.  I had tremendous success with it a few years back when I lost 80 pounds. I gained it all back, though….because I didn’t wean myself off of it.  I will follow the rules this time.  It’s for the short term.  I will have to go back each month for a check of my vitals and make sure my blood pressure doesn’t rise. Phentermine gives me a lot of energy, which I love.  But it makes me quite thirsty, which isn’t a terrible thing since I am supposed to have a lot of water anyway:)  I just never thought I’d have a NEED for it again, certainly not after a life-changing weight loss surgery. So, I’ll take my 3 pound loss and move forward.  I was really very upset yesterday.  For a lot of reasons, but that appointment was at 9am and set the mood for the entire rainy day. And I so want to dislike Dr. Bruce.  But each time I am there, he makes a faith reference- almost as if he knows I am really digging deep and finding strength in my faith. I let him know that I’ve been chatting a lot with Jesus about this situation lately:)

There’s another situation at my house that the Big Man and I have been in talks about, too.

There are 2 topics I always talk about.  Weight loss progress (me)  and Type 1 Diabetes (my daughter).  Haley’s 17 and has been a T1D for nearly four years now.  May 29th is her Dx anniversary.  So, we’re not new to T1D but we still learn something all the time.

At her checkup last month, her doctor asked us to try to be more vigilant about taking Metformin, which is actually a drug used in Type 2 Diabetes, but is really helpful for Haley, as it helps break down carb digestion and helps drive her blood sugar down.  We’ve done as the doctor asked.  Unfortunately, Metformin works a little TOO well.  She prescribed 2 pills with food each day.  When Haley takes 2 and also does insulin, her blood sugar plummets to unhealthy numbers.  We have had a series of “lows” in the 40,s, 30’s and even once in the 20’s.  I was with her a couple of years ago when she crashed into the 20’s and I never want to visit that again.  I was losing her.  Haley lost her ability to speak, her eyes were rolling back in her head…her vision was blurred.  My girl was simply checking out on me.  I never ever wanted her to feel that way again.  But it happened again last night because she is still trying to find the balance with Metformin and her insulin pump dose.

When she is low, she starts to feel shaky.  Haley says when she’s in the 40’s, she’s shaky and starts to sweat, and feels sick to her stomach.  In the 30’s or below, she said it’s like a slow, easy, calm drift to sleep.  She loses functionality.  She checks out.  During this time, we guzzle juice and wait for it to come back up.  We have a glucagon kit, which is also nicknamed the “oh shit kit.”  If we’re breaking out Glucagon, we’re past the need for juice, cake icing, etc.  We’re in trouble and a Glucagon shot in her hip/behind area is intended as a last resort before calling 911.

Luckily, the juice (and a PB&J sammich!) did the job because in just  a few minutes, she was laughing and joking with me again.

It is still amazing to me that she can come that close to danger and a few minutes later, she’s completely normal. It’s scary. Amazing. Exhausting.  After a low like that, her body needs time to recover.  She feels terrible for the day.  Kind of like recovering from the flu. I asked if she’d like to lay down with me for a little while and just relax.  Maybe take a nap.  I expected her to say no, to go play video games or watch TV.  Instead, she crawled up in my bed beside me and chatted with me for a few minutes (after she’d drank all the juice and her blood sugar was good) and then drifted to sleep.  My five foot 9 inch , 17 year old “baby” was lying beside me in the guest room.  I laid there with her and played with her hair while she slept.  And a million memories instantly poured into my brain. My husband kept texting me, asking what our plans for dinner were going to be.  I think I texted back and said we’re skipping it because I didn’t want to move from my cozy spot with my girl.  The house would have had to be on fire for me to move.  I wanted to breathe her in and the comfort having her beside me brought me.  I am hoping that she, too, found comfort while she slept next to me.  Sleeping is an issue for me and has since really elevated since her DX.  It is my greatest fear that the “low” will not wake her from her sleep and I will come to find her gone.  It is such a morbid thought, but any parent of a kid with a life threatening illness knows this fear. We’re trying to get a CGM for her)(Continuous Glucose Monitor)  that will show trends in her sugars- whether they are going up or down…and alarms that will be sent to my phone when she’s too high or low.  It’s a pretty penny, but it is needed and will help alleviate some stress in her life…and in mine.  Later when I told her goodnight, Haley said “Hey mom, thanks for saving my life today.” I giggled a little bit and thought…whew…that was a close call today! All a little too overwhelming.

So you take her near-death experience yesterday, combined with the disappointing doctor’s appointment and very little sleep and that’s a yucky day.  My old friend depression showed up yesterday for a little bit….but.  To use the verse from Lamentations 3:23, “God’s mercy and grace are new every morning.”

And a new morning it was.  I reached a new milestone today.  My first in this journey! I weighed myself today and I am happily writing to you from “Onederland.”  Don’t know what that is?  If not, you must not have a weight issue LOL. ONEderland is where you find yourself when your weight begins with a ONE instead of anything else.  That’s right…I just sorta put my weight out here on the crazy internet for all to see.  it’s not like ya’ll were blind to the fact that I am a heavy girl.  SOOO- since my pre-op phase in mid-February, I’ve dropped 31.4 pounds. It’s a little less than 3 pounds a week.  I still call that a win. 31.4 down.  54 to go. Easy, right? Pffffffffftttt.  No, it’s not easy.  But I am doing it.

Thanks for reading and letting me get the emotions out.  Whether 1 person reads or 100 read, it is nice to be able to document my journey and pour my feelings somewhere that people may be able to understand.  Weight loss is super hard.  If it were easy, we’d all be skinny!

I hope everyone has a great evening.  Thank you again for spending your time with me today ❤

Be Blessed,

Dawn

 

 

Deja-boo, the heart of the matter,and Pinkv.2

Did y’all miss me? All seven of you that read my blog. LOL. Turns out I’m not a good blogger! I’m trying to make a good effort, but I’ve kinda had a busy few months! Hence the catch-all title of today’s entry.

Deja-vu means you’re in a situation you’ve been in or felt before. I have that situation but I’m calling it Déjà-boo because it’s a situation I’d rather not have been in more than once! Haley’s T1D Dx anniversary was Memorial Day weekend. We’re waaaay more well-prepared now, 3 years in, than we were then. Or so we thought. Stinkerbell landed her cute self in the hospital shortly before her sugar-versary. She was feeling awful one morning in May and pleaded with me to stay home. There’s an urgency in her voice when she has a diabetic issue that is far greater than any other. There’s a look in her eyes. Like a glassy, dull expression that I’ve come to recognize. She gets winded. She gets lethargic and it sucks. She didn’t even have to plead her case. I knew by looking at her that she felt bad. She measured for ketones. Our test strips indicated none. She still couldn’t breathe and her heart “hurt ” so to the pediatrician we went. Imagine our surprise when we learned she had a LARGE AMOUNT OF KETONES in her urine. They urged me to take her to Wake Med’s children’s hospital ER. Haley was in mild diabetic ketoacidocis. It’s awful. No wonder she felt bad. Luckily we didn’t have to spend the whole night. If you don’t know what DKA is, and you know/love a diabetic, I urge you to go look it up. Too much of it can send type one’s into diabetic coma.
We chugged water like crazy, she was dehydrated so they pumped her full of good hydration via IV. She rested. We talked. It was an awful day until very cute doctor came in and told her she could spend the night in her own bed. LOL. Diabetics lead a life of highs and lows. Literally! She’s fine these days and enjoying the first few days of summer vacation, and she has her drivers license now!

Before the craziness in May, rewind back to late January, when my husband was sick. If you know me well, you know I’m not one to stay idle even when I’m sick, so it’s hard for me to comprehend how my husband can. And it’s my general opinion that men are the weaker sex when it comes to sickness. In my house I can be crazy sick but the kid needs to get from point A to B, dishes need washing and so do clothes. I still take care of stuff like women are programmed to do. Meanwhile, husband is laid up in bed with NyQuil because he has the sniffles. For the first 2 days of Jason’s illness, I immediately thought he must’ve been hungover. LOL. Or really embellishing because his version of sick and mine are NOT THE SAME.😆

I can tell you that crow does not have nice flavor! I had to eat my words. On day 3 he looked so bad that his skin was gray. No energy. Hard to breathe. Racing heart. Vomiting non stop. He let me take him to urgent care, which is a big deal since he’s only been to the doctor a handful of times since we’ve been together, which is about 20 years! The PA there called EMS immediately and off to Rex we went. His heart rate was 200+ bpm! I followed the ambulance over I my car. Lots of crazy thoughts went through my brain during that drive. Please, Jesus… Let him be ok. …. And he is now. Jason developed an arrhythmia. The ER doctor used the scary paddles on him to reset his heart…. While he was AWAKE! He said it was the worst pain he’d felt in his life. After a series of tests, and a week in the hospital, he left with a shiny new pacemaker at the ripe old age of 44. Yes. I said 44.

So- my family has had some issues of late. In comparison to what’s happened to Jason and Haley, my issues are minor. I’ve had chronic pain in my lower abdomen for several months. Ultrasounds and CT scans showed nothing wrong, though I have sporadic pain that rival pain of childbirth. Tired of having this pain and not figuring out what it was made me turn to an alternative….and so far, I’ve had positive results and minimal pain. Why?

The infamous pink drink you may see my friends post about on my Facebook page. Plexus and I are not new friends. I’ve actually taken the Plexus slim powder for quite some time, but I was not consistent with it. I’ve been really diligent for about a month now. The benefits I’m seeing and feeling are feeling more rested, minimal tummy pain, more energy and I AM SLEEPING, YALL! I have suffered from insomnia for about the last ten years. Now, my sleepless nights are few. Plexus was originally formulated to help type2 diabetics control their blood sugars. Haley is type 1, so she will always require insulin by injection or pump until a cure is found. But- when we visit her doctor this month, I plan on showing her doctor the ingredients in Plexus and have Haley try it with the doctor’s blessing, of course.

Now listen… I’m not so naive to think that some pink power is gonna make me lose a ton of weight. It has worked that way for others. But it’s working for me in various ways.

Plexus is wellness in a bag. If I lose weight with it, GREAT! But if I don’t, I’m good with that, too. I’m FEELING SO MUCH BETTER! And my bloodwork is showing it, too! Cholesterol like check. Blood pressure is perfect. A1C is spot-on. I’m not anemic nor are my potassium levels low like they used to be. I’m 46 and was beginning to feel every single one of those years and I don’t mean that in a good way.

I started hearing about the benefits of Plexus from my sweet girlfriends Micah and Heather, who’ve both had phenomenal results from it. Then I became friends with their friends, Tracy, Melissa, Dee and
Carol. ALL of them have experiences similar to mine. These are not stories from complete strangers. These are people I know!
I’m giving this a second go of it and stay diligent. I added the probio5 and Biocleanse. I need to keep my tummy healthy and out of pain. So far, it’s all good!

My fitness routine has suffered since my ankle surgery last October. I’ve gained all but 23 pounds of the 80 I lost. I gotta resume the activities that made me feel strong. Now that things have calmed down on the home front, I feel like I can turn my setbacks into a big comeback.

Do you want to join me on my Pinkv.2 journey? Whether with exercise or Plexus or both… I’d love to have some company on this journey. It’s easier when you have support from your friends. And I’d love to cheer you on as well.

Thanks so much for reading. I’ve been wanting to post an update for months but had too much going on. And quite honestly, I’ve not felt good. I’ve felt old. Weak. Brittle. But no more. The woman who was a force to be reckoned with took a long hiatus. TOO LONG. But I’m finally ready to enjoy getting that cheerful spirit and healthy mind and body back:)

Shew… That was a LOT of typing! Thanks for taking the time to spend with me. I’d love to hear from you! For all the prayers, calls, emails, texts regarding my family these last few months, THANK YOU! I felt every single one!

Xoxo
DMG

“against my better judgement”

hi:)
My half marathon is in 26 days. TWENTY SIX DAYS, I tell ya! And unfortunately, I am not prepared. But I am still doing it! Read on. I will explain.
A lot of my facebook friends, neighbors, co-workers and family have asked about the status of my weight loss journey, and my participation in the Tobacco Road Half Marathon next month. So I thought I’d write it up- share it, and hope that it answers those questions.

I finally went to have my elbow injury and old Achilles injury looked at. The pain in my elbow was getting to be unbearable. Imagine grabbing a drink at a drive through window, Even to lift OUNCES would send sharp shooting pain into my elbow and sometimes, I’d drop stuff. It was affecting nearly everything. I stopped boxing, stopped Body Combat and Body Pump- even using the arm things on the elliptical would hurt!

The Achilles gets no rest because well- quite honestly, I am stubborn, and if I can’t do the fun fitness activities, I could at least walk/run, right?

NOT.SO.MUCH.

How about I have something called Haglund’s deformity on my heel. They call it “pump bump” because many women get that pointy looking thing from wearing high heels. I assure you that was NOT the case with me:) LOL. Lots of women get it from running on an incline. BINGO! DING< DING< DING! That’s probably what did it.
If you wanna know what it is all about, here’s the wikipedia version of it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haglund’s_deformity

In addition to this bump on the heel, I have a bone spur. Fun times, huh? It is not impacting me so much that I cannot walk and it doesn’t really bother me so much right now. But as I get older, and if it continues to bother me, they recommend surgery.
Oh.hell.NO.

My doctor says this race is against his better judgement because I haven’t properly trained. AND I have this injury. 13.1 miles is a ‘lil too far in his opinion. And in any other case, I would agree with them. But- this race is more than 13.1 miles. It’s for my daughter. My T1D rockstar!
You can read more about that here:

http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/dmgraham

She puts her body through SO MUCH. All T1D’s do. It’s all for her. I can do this. It’s gonna hurt. I know it is. But she fuels my passion to push myself to do this. Every day is a struggle for her. I can struggle for a day for HER.

Moving on- back to the elbow thingy.
Dr. Wonderful gave me a cortisone shot in my elbow and prescribed 6 weeks of physical therapy. I’ll  admit- I am really skeptical about stuff like that. I immediately doubted that a little stretching and exercise would alleviate the pain in my elbow…Which turned out NOT to be an elbow thing! It is actually a neck injury and that muscle is some kinda JACKED UP! But with various muscle manipulation, exercises and some fun procedure they call dry needling- I am ALMOST as good as new!

I have never been so glad to do even a modified push up in my life. I did 30 today in the PT’s office.
We do exercises with resistance bands to build strength in my shoulder, elbow and arm. Right now, I love my physical therapist about as much as I love JESUS. He has really helped me feel so much better! I am not done with PT yet. We are working strength right now and then we will work on…..
you guessed it- striking! punching! Praise BE! I am gonna get to go back to boxing in the immediate future!!!!

In other news- if you were not already aware, I stopped boxing/kickboxing due to said injury last May.
Subsequently, the combination of stopping my favorite activity PLUS losing my way in my fitness trek has cost me about a 25 pound gain. I got very lazy.  Very fast.

Yes, friends….25 pounds is about 2 jeans sizes and I am not a happy girl. I am currently on the “lose as much weight as possible in the next 26 days so I don’t have to haul ALL that ass across the finish line” diet and fitness plan! But I will continue long past finishing the race. I know what it feels like to feel strong and proud of myself.

I know how I feel right now ain’t a happy feeling.

I have been so incredibly hard on myself. The things I say to myself in my mind and to my reflection are horrible. I wouldn’t say those things to an enemy, if I had any, so why do I say that sh*t to myself?! I KNOW that happiness and beauty are not defined by a number on a scale. But part of feeling strong and healthy, and beautiful IS defined in part about how we feel about ourselves. I loved that feeling last summer and I MUST strive to make my way back there.
Plus, if I don’t. I have a closet full of clothes that are too tight right now…and I am determined not to buy new stuff.

I think I need y’all to physically come to my house and drag my ass to the gym more.  Really, I think that’s what it’s gonna take to get myself moving like I used to!

So, I am still doing the race. I have to do it. I committed to it. The team I am running with are all JDRF supporters. They’ll be running. I’ll be walking/jogging/skipping/dancing or even crawling across the finish line. It’s important to me.
If you’re a friend reading, I would so love to have your support in whatever way you would like to participate- whether it’s a donation, if it’s running or walking with my team…or even if it’s a high five as I hurl myself over the finish line, I would love to see friendly faces there for my girl. Even a prayer for my daughter- or for me that I don’t further injure myself, which is my fear- and is very, very possible.  I could be doing so much more damage- but am willing to take the risk.  I’ll keep doing the stretches and exercises that “PT /almost-Jesus”  wants me to do.
I am so proud of how Haley’s handled her diagnosis, which has almost been two years! I want to show her how proud I am of her:)

Part of making her proud of me is to stop beating myself up about this gain and be kind to myself. I am not showing her how to properly deal with mistakes and disappointments by shaming myself. Picking myself up after admitting to setback, and then kicking it’s ASS is a much better way to show her a strong, confident, smart Mama. Gonna turn my setback into a comeback and be as healthy as I was.

She and her sister make me want to be better. So no more of the nasty talk to the mirror. More kindness to myself and realizing I am human…realizing that the scale does not define me.

Thank you for reading:) I will have another post soon about Haley’s progress as a T1D. We had our 90 day checkup yesterday that woke us up and is steering us in the best direction. I will write more about it later:)

In the meantime, I hope to see you on race day!

Kindly,
DMG

Half Marathon Training has officially begun!

Hal Higdon's training advice
Hal Higdon’s training advice. I CAN do this!

So, friends- it’s on.

There are only 96 days until this event and I cannot run more than 3 miles right now and that’s not really consecutive miles, either!

I did a jog/walk thing this morning.  2 miles on the treadmill and 1 mile run/walk when I got home from the gym since I still had some time to spare before taking Stinkerbell to school.  Hal suggests 3 miles for today.  Well, I did the 3 miles.  I just didn’t do them consecutively:) But I am working on it.  I find I do my best work when I am pressed for time, and that applies to all aspects of my life- work,  home, deadlines- you name it.  I don’t doubt I will do this thing.  I just wanna run at least half of it.

The JDRF  race organizer asked me why I chose to take the Team JDRF challenge for the half marathon a couple of weeks ago.  I replied with my honest answer…that I said I’d NEVER to it again, given the aftermath of the last one I did and my inability to walk for three days.   But as we know, I’ve changed my tune.  She asked if she could publish my reply, hoping to get more runners on the team. I told her she could use my story, and apparently more runners have signed up- not due to my story, by any means- but I am really hopeful for a good turnout at this event.  You just don’t know how precious research organizations will be to you until you or someone you love becomes immediately affiliated due to learning of an illness or disease.  I showed my T1D the response I sent to JDRF.  I hope she knows how proud I am of her.  I hope she’s proud of me when I finish this thing.

You can read my personal page here: http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/dmgraham.  If you feel so inclined to donate to my fundraising efforts, know that I am appreciative.  But I am also just as appreciative for you reading here…for your kind messages and texts/comments.

And this little blurb is what appears on the JDRF Eastern NC Chapters facebook wall.  Not sharing to toot my horn.  Sharing to share my love for my T1D. She’s the reason this is important to me.  It takes $$ to do research to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.  It’s my prayer that a cure is found in her lifetime. I am just doing my part while I am here and able  to do it.

She’s the reason I run…

it's for the kid:)
it’s for the kid:)

 

My beautiful T1D- a year later!

Hey there:) 
In prior posts you’ve likely read where I reference my daughters.  I talk of them often because they make me so proud! My older daughter (Hollyann)  is 22, and lives with her gf nearby. I don’t see her often enough, but she knows where her home is and that she’s loved here.  She’s made me really, very proud of how she’s handling life as a 22 year old young adult.  I know the day will come when she’s going to need the help of her mom and step-dad and I hope I am prepared to help her.  And if I am not, I will prepare quickly! She’s a great girl.

My younger daughter is 14 and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at this time last year- almost to the very day.  Memorial Day weekend is synonymous with many things…cookouts…pool parties, the start of summer.. recognition of our service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for ensuring our freedom, and being thankful for their service, as well as the men and women who currently serve.  It is also synonymous with Haley’s “Dx”…her diagnosis.

We were actually at the same park yesterday where she had what she calls the “worst day of her life.EVER”.  I made her walk the 2 mile loop around the lake at the Apex Community Park last year with our then-new puppy, Bo.  She was sluggish and tired.  I attributed to it being hot outside and being a typical teenage girl who maybe stayed up too late the night before play xbox with her friends.  What I would later learn about that awful day was that the kid was in DKA= Diabetic Acidosis.  Her Dx would come to us just a day later after she’d called to say she felt terrible and asked if Jason or I would come get her from school. 

If you’re a parent, you know that your kids will come to you when they are ill and that there is an urgency in their voice that can chill you to your very soul.  This was one of those times.  There was no MAYBE she’s sick.  I knew that Sunday on Memorial Day that she was sick.  I was going to call and make an appointment for her that Monday but again- it was a holiday weekend and the doctor’s office was closed.  I’d planned to call Tuesday by noon.  You know, go to work, get a few things done and then move onto picking her up and taking her to get checked out.  Only I never got that chance because of the bone-chilling phone call.

Haley had been drinking an unusual amount of water, tea, soda, anything she could get her hands on.  Sunday night’ revealed that she’d drank nearly a case of water and a 6 pack of Sunkist soda in less than 2 days.  That didn’t count whatever she drank during the weekend that I DIDN’T see…I just knew it was going to be a “sugar” thing, but I thought in the back of my mind that it was going to be a temporary thing.  I had some exposure to T1D because my first cousin has a son who is Type1.  I knew OF it.  I didn’t really know anything ABOUT their daily lives and struggles until the diagnosis came after Haley complained of muscle aches, unquenchable thirst, dizziness, seeing “spots” and having blurred vision

Here is the definition of DKA, courtesy of wikipedia:

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication in patients with diabetes mellitus. It happens predominantly in those withtype 1 diabetes, but it can occur in those with type 2 diabetes under certain circumstances. DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketone bodies that cause most of the symptoms and complications.[1]
DKA may be the first symptom of previously undiagnosed diabetes, but it may also occur in people known to have diabetes as a result of a variety of causes, such as intercurrent illness or poor compliance with insulin therapyVomitingdehydrationdeep gasping breathingconfusion and occasionally coma are typical symptoms. DKA is diagnosed with blood and urine tests; it is distinguished from other, rarer forms of ketoacidosis by the presence of high blood sugar levels. Treatment involves intravenous fluids to correct dehydration, insulin to suppress the production of ketone bodies, treatment for any underlying causes such as infections, and close observation to prevent and identify complications.[1][2]
DKA is a medical emergency, and without treatment it can lead to death. DKA was first described in 1886; until the introduction of insulin therapy in the 1920s it was almost universally fatal.[3] It now carries a mortality of less than 1% with adequate and timely treatment.[4]

Hello.  It can be deadly. The ER doctor who treated Haley told us that if we had waited just 8-12 hours longer, we might not have such a happy story to tell.  Haley was in bad shape.  I am SO glad she was vocal about how she felt and that she was insistent on making me LISTEN.  
Once we had the diagnosis, Haley was upset for a few minutes, and then was like “ok. this really, really sucks.  But let’s deal with it and when can we go home”.  Meanwhile, I am texting my cousin, Regina, like a mad woman! Regina let me text her night and day for months, and I STILL DO! Even though we’ve been at this for a year, we still have highs and lows and I still ask for her advice.  It’s amazing the book of knowledge she is- and amazing that Wyatt is as calm, cool and collected as he still is after his DX around age five!
I don’t think anyone really realizes what a big deal it is.  Most folks thing Type 1 is lumped in with Type 2 and that you can control it with diet and exercise, but it can’t be.  And some folks think that it’s because I fed her too much sugar, which makes me giggle) And some think it will magically disappear if she were to lose weight.  That one makes me giggle, too:)  Type 2 is no joke, either, so please don’t think I minimize the seriousness of it.
But a year later, I feel like we are so much smarter and relaxed about things! She is eligible to get an insulin pump, but we are a little hesitant to do it right now.  She injects herself with HumaLog about 5x a day.  And she has a nighttime injection of Lantus (slow acting insulin) each night before bed.  Imagine injecting yourself 6x a day with a needle.  Fun times, right?  NOT.  She has more high blood sugars than she does lows, but the lows are a real worry for us.  Twice she has had dangerously low sugar levels.  One of which I thought she was checking out for sure.  Glossy, glazed over eyes, inaudible speech, clenching her heart,  It was the first time I was really faced with making a quick decision to get her sugar level UP an FAST.  I’ve learned these things…in no particular order!
1: cake icing, in particular, the gel kind, is the best way to get sugar levels to rise.  Squeezing the tube in between her cheek and gumline, and massaging it so that she swallows it, is the best method.  
2. Cake icing is the last stop before the “oh sh*t” glucagon shot that we carry around with us in the scary red case. See below!
3. Blood sugar goes way,way, wayyyyy low after vigorous exercise, like riding her bike, street hockey and swimming.
4.  Blood sugar goes way high when we eat pasta or pizza and we can expect it to be high for a couple of days!
5. Teenage girls are hellaMOODY when their blood sugar is too low or too high! That’s all we will say about that:)
6. I’ve learned to always keep some sort of candy or icing in my purse because we never know when a LOW is coming on.  We’ve been walking through the mall together and she will just give me a look like…hey mom, can we chill a minute and let me check my sugar?  And sure enough, she knows her body well enough to know she’s low.  We pop some skittles or something and she’s good as new!
7. No matter how much I try to prepare myself, I WILL leave the diabetic supply bag at home at least once in a week at home while we go somewhere and have to go back to get it!
8. I AM MORE SCARED of DIABETES than Haley will EVER be.  I think of it’s impact on her body…future complications and possible children that I hope she has.
9. She’s stronger than I EVER have been or will be.
10. Haley is a rockstar to the bone and I can’t say enough how proud of this kid I am!
I remember begging Jesus in my prayers to somehow take this from her and give it to me.  I remember making silent bargains with Him on my drive home from the hospital with her.  “I will be a better mother, a better wife, friend, anything- just give it to ME”. I convinced myself that somehow it was my fault.  But He knew us before He made us:) He made her special. He made her strong and I am convinced that she’ll use this as a gift for someone else someday.  Maybe she will be the babysitter whose specialty is caring for T1D kids.  Maybe she’ll be like the cool nurse who cared for her in the ER at Wake Med.  Maybe she’ll be the doctor who cares for T1D’s.  We just don’t know- but whatever she chooses, I know she’ll be great:)  
So a year later, we’re so much more efficient and smarter about Diabetes!  She’s so much healthier and has a great grasp on school and home life. Maybe one day soon we’ll revisit the insulin pump because we know it’s gonna simplify things for her greatly.  But for now, just one year into this trek, we have made GREAT strides!

Thanks for reading and letting me brag about my girls. They truly are my greatest blessings. 
Hollyann, me, Haley.  Mother’s Day 2013.


Taken just a few days shy of her diagnosis. Not feeling well, but still sporting a smile:)

Our JDRF Team last November! She has a great support group in family and friends!  We will walk again in November, should anyone want to walk with us! My girl needs a CURE!


Thank you for coming by to read about our first year.  We are not perfect by any means, but we are happy to have surpassed the 2am wake up calls to do finger pricks.  We are pleased to be more educated and sure of things now.
We’re just happy that SHE is healthy and feeling good.  Haley starts HIGH SCHOOL in the fall! I will surely have a whole other blog just for THAT!

God Bless! And hey- if you’re a member of our military and you’ve stopped here to read about my girl- THANK YOU for your sacrifice and service.  As much as I commemorate this weekend as Haley’s diagnosis weekend, I really do know that first and foremost, it’s Memorial Day and I can’t thank you enough for securing our freedom.  I know freedom is not free!

Kindly-
Dawn

little fighter, soon it will be brighter

I used a picture with this saying in it a few weeks ago.  Such a simple quote, yet it’s full of meaning for my little fighter. Stinkerbell has her checkup with the diabetic doctor tomorrow. We go every 90 days. It is hard to fathom that I’ve been a parent to a T1D rock star for a little over six months. So much has happened since then! It was all so overwhelming then. And it still is- we are just getting used to the daily roller coaster ride with glucose levels. Most times her sugar is elevated….and we can live with that while we use insulin to bring it down. But days like today really keep you in check and on your toes!

Haley texted me shortly before lunchtime today. Just as I was getting ready to scold her for texting at school, I realized what the message was…. “Mommy, my blood sugar is 57 and I’m in gym class. It bout took the life out of me.”

Needless to say, I didn’t scold her. She was able to get to the designated room to check her sugar and get a snack and recovered from the low.  Normal folks should have blood glucose levels somewhere between 70 and 100. And 57 is not The lowest we’ve seen- but it’s scary, and if she  doesn’t  eat some fast acting carbs soon, she will continue to feel badly. She was scared today and so was I.  But she knew what to do, reacted quickly, and averted a crisis. Rock Star, I tell ya!

Tomorrow’s checkup is going to include talking about an insulin pump and we fear that her doctor may not consider her as a candidate for a pump. He likes to see that the patient takes care of themselves the “manual” way…fast acting insulin injections, finger pricks and slow acting insulin injections at night. That’s her schedule. All day long. There’s never a time that she ignores it- but we could do a better job with night time readings for sure. Getting a pump is a big responsibility. It gives the diabetic a continuous drip of insulin 24/7. We really want to try an omnipod. She would have a pod inserted every 3 days rather than injections 4-6 times a day.

This is a rough gig. But we are up for the challenge. It is hard to remember the rules sometimes. I hope we eligible for the pump.  I have my fingers and toes crossed:) if you could add Stinkerbell to your prayer list, I know she’d really appreciate it:)