Diabetes Appointment #2

Ha! Writing about a thing less than 7 days after it happened!  Go me!

As I was actually fasting for this appointment, the numbers were accurate:

  • FGT: 110  (falls into Prediabetes range now, woot!)
  • Weight: 256.3 lbs (15 lbs lost, 12 more to go!)

I did have blood tests done at the lab after my appointment (cholesterol panel & A1C), but I haven’t gotten the results back yet.

So my nefarious plan is still working, and Thanksgiving eating didn’t set me back!

Insurance companies supposedly only cover A1C tests every 3 months, so I may need to pay for my test this past week.  I also think that’s why Bonnie wants my next visit to be in 3 months.  But I have a nutritionist appointment in December and my physical in January, so it likely won’t actually be 3 months until I see someone again.

In somewhat related news, I was laid off from work earlier this week.  My thoughts on this:

  • It’ll be harder for me to get my daily steps, now that I don’t have to move around for work.
  • No paycheck = money rationing = more stress?
  • Applying for jobs is exhausting.
  • I didn’t get the chance to gather my courage to talk to the cute guy at work. 😦
  • More time for sleeping and craft projects and errands?

Of course, I was out of work for less than 24 hours before my dad decided to be a douche and started turning off the internet at 9 pm.  As if that’s going to help me find work.  At least he’s leaving it on during the day while he’s at work, which is sadly an improvement over the last time this happened.

No, I have not told him or my stepmother about this health problem.  They’re already hard enough to deal with, I don’t want to be told “I told you so” about my past food choices.

Diabetes Appointment #1

So this appointment was about a month ago now.  I’ll try to remember all the relevant and interesting stuff… Starting with the nurse’s name: Bonnie.

Bonnie explained the differences between Type 1 and Type 2; The former is an autoimmune disease & usually strikes in childhood, and the latter is caused by your pancreas working too hard and not making enough insulin to regulate the amount of glucose molecules in your blood & is usually found in adults.  Also, with the added glucose in your bloodstream, your body tries to flush it out, and that’s why diabetics drink more water and have to pee more.  (It all makes sense now!)

In the process of explaining the functions of glucose and insulin (which is what gets the glucose into your cells, BTW), I interrupted with “Yeah, C6H12O6,” and she gave me this blank look.  I’m thinking, ‘You are a diabetes specialist.  You cannot possibly have forgotten the molecular formula for the thing your work revolves around.’  I took both Chemistry and Biology; You can talk science to me, it’s ok.

She gave me the results of my blood tests.  The FGT (Fasting Glucose Test) measures blood sugar when you haven’t eaten anything for at least 8 hours, and the A1C measures your average estimated blood sugar over the past 2-3 months.  I should point out here that the morning I’d had the blood drawn, I didn’t know I was going to be doing this, so I’d had a few spoonfuls of cottage cheese before my appointment.  Therefore, the FGT results are not technically fasting; A1C does not have to be fasting.

FGT:  Normal <100  —   Prediabetes 100-125  —  Diabetes 126+  — My FGT = 128

A1C:  Normal <5.7% —  Prediabetes 5.7-6.4% — Diabetes 6.5%+ – My A1C = 6.1%

I also got this dorky book on carb counting and meal planning.  Bonnie explained that I could use my hand to measure portions; my palm for red meat, up to the first knuckle for chicken, and up to the second knuckle for fish.  I literally laughed out loud at that; portion sizing is depressing and doesn’t work for me.  I don’t think she thought it was funny…  I still carry the book with me, though, because it has tables of foods and their carbohydrates.  My food plan = eat mostly protein and veggies and switch to medicinal-grade (≥80% dark) chocolate.

Bonnie said that to start reversing this, I should be exercising 30-60 minutes every day and start by losing 5% of my body weight.  At the time, I was 271 lbs, so 5% = 13 lbs.  The last time I got on my bathroom scale I was 259 lbs, which is 12 lbs down.  This astounds me, that my nefarious plan is working, because I honestly haven’t been exercising as much as I should.  It also means that losing 10% (getting down to 244 lbs) is actually in the realm of Possible, so I’m going to keep working at it.

I did order a planner to map out my weekly exercise, and I keep the schedules for the YMCA classes and swimming times pinned above my desk.  I write into the planner on a weekly basis what my options are for the coming week, so I can plan around other things like overtime at work, contra dances, etc.  It’s kinda working…

A few random related notes:

  • My bestie still has not completed his YMCA application.  It’s hard to be a gym buddy when you don’t have a gym membership, dude…
  • I have been transferred to a different department at work for the next month (until the Seasonal job ends), and this job I will be standing all the time.  It’s also maybe 15 min to the YMCA I have a membership at, so I have fewer excuses to not go.

So my next appointment and bloodwork are scheduled for Tuesday this week.  Hopefully I don’t let this one go a month before writing about it.


So, as I believe I stated in the post on recent work changes, the new work schedule is not my natural rhythm.  To get to work by 8:30 I have to wake up by 6:15 am, and as it’s almost impossible for me to get to sleep before midnight, I have been perilously short on sleep.  Worknights (nights with work the next morning) I’ve been getting 5-6 hours of sleep, and that isn’t really balanced by 9-10 hours the remaining nights.

And that lack of sleep, combined with a low tolerance for people, incited bad food and exercise choices.  Like, cheesecake and cookies for dinner, and not dancing because I was too tired.

Naturally, that all caught up with me.

Since the beginning of August I’ve gained about 15 pounds, and a recent blood test showed that I have early Type 2 diabetes.  Talk about a wake-up call.

I have a friend that I met through dancing who has diabetes.  A few years ago, she had half of her foot amputated; she calls it Frankenfoot now.  And since then, she’s had multiple multiple other surgeries, on her nerves and her eyes…!  I think she’s almost blind in one eye now.

That is NOT going to happen to me.

This mid-level terror going on in the background of my mind has inspired me to start making lifestyle changes:

  • Severely limiting my sugars.  A tiny slice of my best friend’s birthday cake was my sugar ration for the week.  And I’ve switched to dark chocolate; you have no idea how helpful it is mitigating the wild mood swings and fiery internal rages I feel while trying to kick this sugar addiction.  It is really really hard to say NO to myself after an exhausting day when I know a cannoli will instantly make me feel better.
  • More activity.  I’ve started staying later at dances, taking more walks, and am trying to find a regular time to go swimming.  My Fitbit does help, and my bestie is working on a YMCA membership so we can be gym buddies.
  • More protein.  I have a pile of various meats in the fridge now.  I just need to make sure I eat them before they go bad.  But protein helps keep me full and energized.

And according to the bathroom scale I use, since I was diagnosed I’ve lost about four pounds.  Also, the skin lesion on my lower shin has greatly improved (hey, I’ll take any signs of improvement).

I have an appointment Tuesday morning with the diabetes specialist at my HMO.  She seems to be under the impression that I have been and/or am willing & able to test my blood sugars regularly.  I don’t think she quite understands the lengths I’m willing to go to to get out of having to prick my finger every day.  Thinking about it gives me anxiety; The last time I watched a needle draw blood I passed out, and it wasn’t even me getting bloodwork done!  Also, when I have my iron tested before donating blood, it Really Hurts.  I have sensitive fingertips.  I don’t think it’s a wise idea to ask someone with long-term depression to hurt themselves every day.  That can lead to Bad Things.  So I’m gonna lay down the law, and we’ll see what her response is.

My therapist was really supportive.  Apparently she’s got a strong family history of diabetes and knows how difficult it can be to manage.  She really liked my idea of using a planner to map out my exercise and dinner meals each week; I’m just waiting to run the idea past the diabetes nurse and my nutritionist before buying the planner.  (I also have been thinking about printing out inspirational exercise pics from Pinterest and taping them into the planner, to help keep me motivated.)  My therapist also suggested putting unsweetened cocoa powder into a banana smoothie with plain yogurt; I’m not a fan of plain yogurt, but if I can handle 88% dark chocolate I think I can deal with a not-very-sweet smoothie.

I’ve told my mom (and therefore my stepdad), my brother, and my bestie.  I also posted a message to my close friends on Facebook.  I have not told my dad or stepmother, as I fear they’ll have an “I told you so” reaction.  My mom’s reaction was “W.T.F.  Diet, and get back below 190.”  (Literally, that was her response via text.)  Diet, yes.  Lose weight, yes.  But I’d have to lose over 70 lbs to get that low, and I think that’s being incredibly unrealistic; Does she not know that I have more muscle than I did the last time I was that weight?  Usually my mom is really supportive, so I’m not sure what the deal is.  My friends have been pretty good about it, too.

So yeah.  Serious wake-up call.  I can’t believe I ever joked about this.  And I’ve advised my younger brother to get tested, even if just to establish a baseline.

Work Changes

I started the year still tutoring at GCC.  Just before my birthday in early April I started a retail job at Wilson’s department store in Greenfield.

Now, when I was hired, I was promised 28 hours each week and a regular weekly schedule.  In the five months that I worked there, the “regular schedule” never materialized and my hours varied from 13 to 25.  In addition to not getting the hours I was promised, I had to drop all but one of my regular tutoring hours.  I never saw an employee handbook; in fact, I’m skeptical one even exists.  We were forbidden from sitting down except at breaks, forbidden from drinking water except at breaks, and forbidden from leaving our department registers unattended (i.e. we had to call the office to get coverage if we needed the restroom).  If you worked over 6 hours, you’d get an hour (unpaid) lunch, but if you worked less than 6 hours you got ONE 10-minute break; Many of my shifts were 5.5 hours long.

Now, Wilson’s register system is ancient.  They don’t use barcodes.  Everything in the store has a 4-digit class code, so when someone brings their purchases to the register, the cashier has to manually enter the 4-digit code.  Then they have to manually enter in the price from the tag.  Then, if the item is on sale, they have to do a manual override to change the price, because the computer system doesn’t know any of this.  And gods forbid you get an item from a different department; you have to call the other department using the phone system and ask the other cashier what the sale price is.  Before I left they’d “updated” the register system to use the new chip readers for credit cards, and it took longer per transaction than before the update, as the computer had to think a lot harder and we had to wait for two receipts to print that we didn’t need and were just stapled to the main receipt and put in the drawer for tallying at the end of the day.  Because the system couldn’t do that, either.

I am very glad that I heard about the job fair at Yankee Candle.  I was able to be directly hired for the same job in the Fundraising department I was doing last fall while temping.  I was able to quit Wilson’s, as Yankee is a grownup job:

  • 40 hours a week (8:30 – 5, Mon-Fri)
  • 15-min breaks every 2 hours
  • a 30 min (unpaid) lunch
  • I can drink water at my desk, and go to the restroom when I need to.

I also love being able to wear jeans and sneakers to work, and can listen to my iPod.  I am not so fond of my commute (current office location is a 45 min drive) nor of the time I therefore have to wake up (6:10 am), but it’s still a step up, so I can’t complain too bad.  I maintain that tutoring was the best job I’ve had yet.

Though the two months (started Aug 1) of averaging 5-6 hours of sleep during the week have led to some interesting consequences, to be discussed later…

Current List of Projects

I’m starting with this because it’s the least likely to bring up Feelings (other than excitement).  I want to talk about these things but there are also heavier things that will need longer discussion, so let’s get this done first and out of the way, yes?  Following is a list (in no particular order) of the various projects I’m working on.

  • Elizabethan garb set
    • chemise: done
    • farthingale (the hoop skirt): done
    • corset: determined what size to cut the pattern on… (in progress)
    • petticoat
    • underskirt
    • dress (bodice & attached overskirt & attached sleeves)
    • maybe eventually a lace partlet and/or a ruff…
  • two peasant blouse styled T-shirts (one is cut & pinned, the other is prewashed)
  • three full-circle cotton skirts (in seasonal fabrics; prewashed)
  • remaking my Kitchen Witch apron to be both more witchy and more useful (will likely use scrap fabric from this project to make matching oven mitts and potholders)
  • scrap quilt (using block method)
  • a green & black sweater-tunic to crochet (will be making up pattern)
  • mending for two of my friends (which I’m going to be paid for, so why am I putting this off??)
  • a cookbook collaboration with my bestie, my personal copy called “Grimoire of a Kitchen Witch” and will include info on canning & preserving, and How To’s (how to test christmas lights to find the bad bulb, how to test a fuse, etc.)
  • illustrating my own tarot deck, using imagery from my fandoms
  • a Civil War ballgown, which I only started planning because I found the PERFECT fabric, which I should order while they still have it (will need 2 whole bolts = 16 yards to be safe; the brocade pattern has direction)
  • Other things I want to make but haven’t started on yet:
    • fluttery palazzo pants
    • knee-length leggings in crazy colors & patterns
    • a green button-up shirt needs to be shortened & re-hemmed
    • make another pair of pajama shorts
    • replacing the fabric on parasols (bought 2 from an antique shop, just need to buy the pattern for the fabric… There will be fringe involved.)
    • prayer flags of the elements
    • fake flowers on bobby pins and/or combs to wear in my hair
    • still have 2 sets of bedsheets that need to be cut down before I can use them

Meesa back!

OMGosh, Blog, I’m so sorry I’ve neglected you for so long.  Life got banaynays (as it does), and while I’ve done some personal journaling in that time, I haven’t given any time to this Quest for Happiness blog.  I am here to fix that.

Tropical Dance Vacation 2016

Last month (Feb.) my aunt Lea sponsored me to go on a dance trip with her, called Tropical Dance Vacation.  It’s a week on St. Croix, in a resort on the beach near Christiansted, with dinners included and contra dancing under the dance tent every night.  It’s organized by a dance caller I know, and the band is Wild Asparagus.

This was fabulous.

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The only thing I would change (other than NOT getting in an argument with my aunt over $5) is to have more young people around.  I know there are reasons why, but I was surrounded by people mostly my parents’ age all week, and I really missed the energy of my younger dance friends.

I’ve had a hard time adjusting back to a New England winter.  I went from 75-85 degrees, sunny, with bright colors, to cold, dreary, monochromatic.  Clearly my body cannot thermoregulate any more.  I can’t wait for spring.