Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

And he shall be called

Cash! We think it fits him. And when we're feeling extra nerdy, we'll call him Cache. ;)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Just call me...


We brought home a new member of the family yesterday. Meet: ... our new dog. He's really great - a 2 year old lab mix from a shelter in West Virginia that we adopted here in NoVA. We don't know his story, but we quickly learned that he's sweet, calm, tranquil, tolerant, and cuddly. He's about 35 chubby pounds and looks just like a mini-lab. For those of you who know Corgan, he's not much taller than him...only an inch or two, I think. The rescue folks assume he's a Lab-Dachshund mix, but like Scott said, that's hard to imagine. Without further ado, here's ... the new doggy:

There's something missing from this post...a name for this love muffin! If you've got any ideas, please let us know! We've come up with lots...Tycho (as in Brahe), Cash (as in Johnny), Clash (comma The), Zen, Zenji (Zen Benji), Troyal (Garth Brooks' first name), Capo (something you use when playing guitar), ... and none quite fit. Corgan was named after Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, and ideally this new guy would have a similarly meaningful and interesting name (be it music related or not). Any ideas? Please post them! Or if you're too shy, email them to me!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Yo-Yo Blood sugars

After raising my voice yesterday for Type I diabetes awareness, today I'm experiencing Type A frustration! My blood sugars have yo-yo'd from 50 mg/dl to 250 mg/dl today. When it's time to eat, I'm low, and when I eat I don't take insulin (because I'm low), which leads to highs. Argh!! I know that part of it is that I need to be smarter about correcting highs and treating lows, but part of it has to be environmental...right?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Raise Your Voice - Type 1 Diabetes Awareness

Today marks the first annual "Raise Your Voice" Type 1 Diabetes awareness day. We in the diabetes online community have noticed that "Diabetes" when mentioned in the public typically refers to Type 2 diabetes. There's a big difference between the two types, and we Type 1s felt the need to get the word out about the "invisible" disease that we deal with daily.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1987 - at age 6. At that point, blood glucose monitors took AGES (at least a minute, but I think it may have even taken 5 minutes) to read your "sugar". The recommended protocol was 2 tests a day - at breakfast and dinner, and two injections a day, also at breakfast and dinner. With this rigid schedule, much of diabetes management was controlled through food - no sugar, limited carbohydrates, etc, and by eating every 3 hours, regardless of hunger.

I was told not to worry - there would certainly be a cure by the time I reached my teens.

Well, my teens have come and gone, and now I'm in my (*gasp*) late 20's, and there's still no cure. Times and technology have certainly changed, though. Blood glucose monitors now return your value within 5 seconds, and some even offer "continuous" monitoring, although this technology is still pretty new. I now wear an insulin pump that came with the promise of food freedom - eat what you want, when you worries. It's not quite that simple, however. I can have a slice of pizza or a cupcake if I choose, but I have to be extra diligent when I eat these things - they do whacky things to blood sugars, and it's really quite difficult to manage. Sometimes I eat them anyway, knowing that I'll have to pay later.

"Pay how?" you might ask. Blood sugars, ideally, should be in the 80-100 mg/dl range. Blood sugars are affected by the food you eat, exercise, stress, and many other (often unknown) reasons. When I eat pizza, because of the carbohydrate content and fat content, it often has an adverse affect on my blood sugar. Typically, several hours after I eat it, my blood sugar skyrockets - sometimes into the 200's, other times into the 500's. In an attempt to stifle these highs in advance, I try to account for this through my insulin pump and delivering varying amounts of insulin over a longer course of time. My attempts often result in a blood sugar of something horribly low (typically around 40).

Symptoms of highs: As Kerri over at Six Until Me so aptly describes it, when your blood sugar is high, it often feels like your teeth are wearing sweaters. Other symptoms I experience are nausea, crankiness, and slightly blurred vision. (Note: if you hear me say "I think I'm high" please interpret this as a diabetes-related feeling). Prolonged high blood sugars can cause eye damage, nerve damage, brain damage, and other serious complications in the long term. In the short term, if left untreated (with insulin), highs can cause Diabetic KetoAcidosis (DKA).

Symptoms of lows: Lows are equally fun with such feelings as dizziness, sweating, disorientation, shakiness, and a strange, butterfly-type feeling in in your stomach. Lows can quickly become dangerous, causing you to be completely disoriented and unable to function, often times if not treated (with food/sugar) causing you to pass out and/or have seizures.

Diabetes is a self-managed disease. That it can be "managed" is a good thing, but management is an all-the-time, non-stop burdon on the person with diabetes. There have been significant advances in technology, but regardless of how great the technology is, it isn't a cure. Recently, several studies have come out that are making leaps and bounds toward a cure. Let's hope that with the U.S. election later this year, our political leaders will support stem cell research - a likely solution for curing Type 1 Diabetes.

Today, raise YOUR voice about Type 1 diabetes. You can do this by posting a story about a person with Type 1 diabetes that you know, posting a comment on my blog, or by donating to the JDRF. Another useful site for diabetes information is the American Diabetes Association, who (among MANY other things) fundraises through an annual walk that I participate in. Stay tuned for shameless pleas for donations around Halloween!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Goodbye to my sweet Celti dog

Our dog, Celti was diagnosed with probable liver failure exactly one month ago yesterday. Last night, she took a turn for the worse. After some testing, and hearing all of our options, it became clear to us that these options would mostly be for us, so we made one of the hardest decisions that we've had to make and decided it was her time to go. She made the cross over the "rainbow bridge" as so many dog lovers call it, at around 2:00 this morning. I thought I could share with you all some of my memories of Celti and her quirkiness.

Celti was a corgi-mix that my mom brought home from the pound when I was in 11th grade. She was cute, and brown, and independent, though she loved attention. She also loved the beach:

She and Corgan would run and play:

and find dead fish to smell:

They also had fun at the creek with all the other dogs, and posed for one of my favorite pictures of them afterward:

She was really good with Corgan and took to him as if she were his mother, constantly cleaning his face and ears, and correcting him when he got too excited (or annoying). Sometimes, she would even let him sit next to her:

especially if they could both get belly rubs:

One of her favorite past times was chasing tennis balls:

And at dog parks, her favorite thing to do was to explore the perimiter to see who all had been there before her.

Generally, she was a polite little dog who would do her best to follow the rules - she even achieved "Level 4" status at dog training at the age of 9. She certainly proved that you can teach an old dog new tricks! However, she did not like workmen coming in the house, and if you came in wearing work boots, she would bite at your pantlegs, trying to herd you out of the house.

Speaking of herding, she would try to herd us while out on a walk. She was really good and never ran away, so we would let her off of the leash while we were walking, and she would weave back and forth behind Scott and me, making sure we both continued to progress in a forward motion. On occasion, she would run wide circles around us when we weren't moving fast enough for her.

Celti was a good friend to me through thick and thin and won over the hearts of almost everyone she met. I'm pretty convinced you couldn't find another dog as sweet, obedient, loving, and cute as she was, and she is greatly missed already. Scott feels similarly, and you can see his memories in the comments section of this blog post.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dormant blogging season

I use Google Reader to watch for updates to my favorite blogs, and it seems that nearly all of them are dormant as of late. My guess is that the bloggers are busy during the spring weather (although DC is still awaiting "spring") and therefore are spending fewer hours in front of their computers.

My days and nights right now are spent thinking about databases and business intelligence. Here and there, I have the opportunity to enjoy thinking about something other than work, and to spend time with my classmates and friends. I really enjoy a lot of the people in my class - Matthew (England), Bruce (England), Jose (Mexico), and Michal (originally - Poland, now - England) are a few. Those four, plus my husband, me, and another couple of coworkers are planning a trip to the new Nationals stadium on Friday evening (after Test #2) and I'm really looking forward to it! I plan to bring my camera so that I can gush about my classmates and give you all a "who's who of Jenni's classmates".

Also - expect a big post on Monday April 14 - Type I Diabetes Raise Your Voice day. I'll get into the why and how on Monday :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Ten Hut!

I started my new job on 3/31, and that was also my first day of "boot camp" within the company. Boot camp is a 3 1/2 week Master's degree level course intended for new hires (and customers) to learn the software. We cover about 600 pages of material in 4 days, then take an exam each Friday.

I had my first test on 4/4, and thankfully I passed with flying colors! I don't think I've ever studied for a class as much as I studied last week. Now, I'm in the throes of week 2, which I hear is much more difficult (although the difficult stuff starts was pretty reasonable, which is why I have time to post!)

So, although I've been MIA for the past little while, I am still here, working hard! I really like what I'm learning, and I've met with my coworkers and bosses now, and I really like all of them. I'm excited to start working, but right now my nose is to the proverbial grindstone. Wish me luck in passing the next two exams, then completing the final project!