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Appointment'd Out.

The Friday Six:  January 16, 2009 editionWhat a freaking long week, with a doctor's appointment every day and way too much medical analysis.  This week is a very personal Friday Six, and here it is:

1.  On Monday, I had my A1C drawn.  I've been to this specific lab before, and the same woman has drawn my blood before, so I didn't have a lot of anticipatory nerves.  But when the lab technician said, "Okay, you have lost all of your color - put your head down, Mrs. Sparling," I knew I wasn't as badass as I wished to be.  (And I also winced when I pulled off the cotton ball she had taped to my inner arm ... I'm such a wuss.)  But thankfully, the results were a full point lower than my last A1c, leaving me with a 7.5% and a reachable goal of <7% for April. 

2.  And Tuesday, I had a dentist appointment.  Those of you who have been reading SUM for a few years know that I have an unholy fear of the dentist, but it is warranted.  My teeth are so sensitive and require barrels of novocain to make them numb, so fearing the wielder of pointy metal hooks in my mouth is a rational fear.  However, my new dentist is FANTASTIC and brings me no pain.  I had my teeth cleaned (first time in ... ages, unfortunately), no cavities, and I have already scheduled another cleaning for April.  I'm considering the dentist hurdle cleared for the time being.

3.  Wednesday has me sitting at the dermatologist's office to have a new freckle on my breast examined.  (Whoa, Kerri.  TMI?)  Yes, that is way too much information, but since when did I start censoring myself?  (Since ... today?  Maybe I should start.)  Always in a constant state of medical over analysis, I decided it was best to have it checked out.  So I spent Wednesday morning having a kind, eccentric, little bald doctor look at my breast with a magnifying glass.  Definitely a "first."  This little issue ended up being nothing to worry about, but now I can check "awkward sharing moment with the Internet" off my list for the week. 

4.  Thursday had me with dilated pupils at the retinologist's office.  Of all the appointments this week, this eye one was the least ... awesome.   

"Look up ... okay, now look a little to the left ... Kerri, up again ..."  Dr. Retina kept shining the light in my left eye and making a "hmmmm" sound under his breath.  My face was cupped by the eye examination machine.

"You can't fool me.  I know you found something.  Spit it out."  My eye doctor and I have a very good relationship, and we talk like we're about to go grab a beer together.

"Small little something.  Hemorrhages in there that I want to keep an eye on."

"Pun intended?"  Without moving my face from the chin rest, I reached over and grabbed a Kleenex because I immediately started to cry.  But I was oddly okay with the news.  Maybe I've already had that bubble busted.

"It's okay.  But with you and your husband talking about maybe getting pregnant in the coming year, I want to keep close tabs on your eyes.  You've had diabetes for what, a million years?"

"Twenty-two years."  I smiled.

"Twenty-two years.  And your eyes look beautiful - barely a problem at all.  But I want to keep them that way.  Let's schedule an appointment to do a fluorescein dye exam before you and Chris are pregnant, just so we know exactly what we're dealing with."

"What is that?"

"We'll inject a dye into your arm, then do a dilation on your eyes.  The dye lets me really see what's going on in there with complete precision.  And with you, I do not want to take any chances."

"Okay.  So do I need to worry about this?  I'm worried.   You know I worry."

"You worry?  You do?"  The gentle ribbing was okay with me.  Soothed my anxiety a bit.  "You do what you're doing.  Work to keep your blood sugars controlled.  And think about taking some time off from all that work you do.  Maybe take a vacation?"

Fine.  So now I need to schedule a vacation.  Doctor's orders, you see.  ;)

5.  Now that these appointments are all behind me, I'm moving forward towards the next steps.  I am doing the pre-pregnancy clinic at Joslin in March, and Chris and I are working to get everything in order so that we can make our family-starting decisions based on factors other than diabetes ones.  It's an exciting time, and one I've been looking forward to my whole life.

6.  And in my only news-related bit of the day, this weekend is the end of the MedGadget awards, and thanks to all of your help and support, SUM is in the lead for Best Patient Blog.  I would be honored to win this award on behalf of every last one of us, so please keep spreading the word and voting!  :)  Thanks for everything, and hopefully on Sunday I can report that WE DID IT! 

I'm planning to spend the weekend hanging with my girl friends (finally seeing the Batman after a long absence!) and doing some recreational writing.  I hope you guys have a great weekend, and stay WARM!!


Maybe it was good to get all the medical appts out of the way in one week. After all, why ruin 4 separate weeks with medical garbage? I'm in the same situation with my eyes - it's a first for me too and very scary. So, when I'm sending healing thoughts to my eye, I'll send some over to your eye too.

Enjoy your chilly weekend.

I think I'd rather have all my doctor's appointments crammed into one week than spread over three or four. Had my endo appointment last week, perinatologist consultation next week (eeeek! yes, you and I are running strangely parallel right now), and the ophthalmologist next week. It's dragging on, I tell you. I'm waaayy overdue to visit the dentist, too, so I'm sure that's coming soon.

Thank you so much for writing about these experiences. It is very comforting to know that I'm not completely alone here.

While not highly pertinent to your post, I thought I'd share the fact that while reading it, I'm listening to a country station on Pandora (www.pandora.com, great customizable free internet radio), and a line from a Rascal Flatts song jumped out at me- "Life throws you curves, but you learn to swerve." Again, not really relevant to the post, but it's always neat when a song lyric seems written for the moment. (Also, Alaska is currently 30° warmer than the balmy 5° in Central Mass. Hows that for depressing?)

What a productive week! I am very impressed.

Have a great weekend with Batman and please stay warm.

You tell us that you had a freckle on your breast examined, but you won't tell us what happened at your bachelorette party? What's up with that? ROFL.

Have a good weekend, Kerri.

My retina specialist does that dye test every time. Just a word of caution, it tends to make me nauseated. The doctor says that happens to about 1% of his patients, all male type 1 diabetics. Strange.

I have had the FA done 3 times in the last 10 years. It takes about 8 minutes and the next day your pee is fluorescent.
It's a great diagnostic tool that I am thankful for.

I've been there in the eye chair hearing about the retinal damage. Remember that, as old as the diabetes is, our bodies are young and resilient and want to be healthy. I saw my eyes heal themselves with better sugar control and some nutritional supplements for eye and vascular health (from my chiropractor, believe it or not, though people thought I was a little nuts). My point is that my retinas were where yours are now when I was 18 and I'm now 29 and my eyes are in wonderful shape today. Don't let worries get you down. Just keep plugging away like you do. I know it's corny, but you're a hero in many ways and your sharing your fears (and embarrassing stories!) makes us all more honest and more comfortable living with our diabetes.

I can't wait until you're pregnant so I can read all about your experience! Having diabetes and getting to have a healthy baby makes it even more sweet somehow (although I don't know what it's like to have a baby and not have diabetes, but anyway...)

I'm really excited for you and Chris. Parenthood is so amazing and you two seem like you'll have so much fun with your child.

Have a great weekend!

hey there . I am so glad you are okay and the eye thing will be just fine you will see I had one a while back and they are not that bad . I hope that you and your g/f have a great time and enjoy this god awfull cold we are having and cannot wait for summer to appear and back to shorts for us yeah . LOL . god bless you keri and have an awesome wknd.

I have the dye done each time I go to the retinal specialist (2-4X a year depending on the state of my eyes). It's not a big deal. I get nauseous easily so they put a half dose in.

Having appointments every day is just getting you ready for the many appointments when you're preggo. I selected both of my OBGYN's in close proximity to my office so I could pop out for the appointments. In the last few weeks of both pregnancies I was there every day. However, I have two adorable, healthy kids so it was worth the hassle!

2009 seems to be a great year so far. Keep it up!

As soon as I read the words you heard the tears started streaming. Every time I have my chin nested into that apparatus and my pupils dilated my voice in my head begs : "Please let it be okay, please let it be okay." Diagnosed at 13, 33 years ago it still is- but I have not yet done the annual ophthalmologist appointment this year. I will make the call this week I promise. During my second pregnancy I too had a small leakage in a vessel in my eye. After my beautiful daughter was born it was reabsorbed, just like that, and has not returned. Thank you for your blog. It is inspiring.

I went to the BIDMC and Joslin pregnancy clinic for my son and loved the care I received and now I'm going for my second! Like a PP said - once pregnant you will go more often than you can imagine but having a healthly baby more than makes up for it in the end! I hope you have a good experince there too!

Whoa Kerri

Did you save up all your appointments to get them over with in a week? It sounds tiring just reading about it.

I had the dye treatment last year and it was really interesting. No nausea and they let me look at the resulting shots, as best I could. In my case there's very minor non proliferative retinopathy (couldn't they just call it stable retinopathy or something simpler?), so all I saw was some glowing dots. I hope your eye report is glowing and your eyes are not (much).

All of your reactions are completely valid. And most of us here have been there and you are not alone.
The BIDMC/Joslin pregnancy clinic is awesome! I've had type 1 for 35 years and I will be 43 years old when I deliver in July. I never thought that I could do this...and I wouldn't have been able to with out the wonderful team at this clinic. I'm almost 16 weeks pregnant and was able to bring my A1C down to 6.5 after a pre-pregn of 8.4. Ironically, I feel healthier than I have in a long time.
They are so positive and encouraging and they are never judgmental or condemning (like some other docs that I've been to).
The previous poster is right about lots of appointments once you get pregnant. I just take then all in stride. It's all worth it.
Good luck!

You should remember this week and what a walk in the park it will seem like once you're pregnant. The ammount of appts are ridiculous. I've had blood drawn 4 times in the last 2 weeks and already have 7 medical appts b/t now and end of Feb! Including one for "diabetic teaching" tomorrow (wonder if I'm qualified to teach it yet?)!

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