Thursday, June 3, 2010

Spiraling Further Downwards

I have family risk factors for gestational diabetes. (As in, most of my dad's side of the family seems to have type 2 diabetes.) I've never had any problems myself -- my brother was diagnosed with Type 2 when he was younger than I am now, so I make sure to get myself screened, and all of my readings have always come back normal. Because of the risk factors, though, Dr. M likes to test me earlier in my pregnancy, instead of waiting for the second trimester like is normally done for other pregnant women.

The one hour glucose screen is annoying, but manageable. It is even more annoying during the first trimester, when you're already nauseous most of the time. Still, it's better than the three hour tolerance test, which seems like the ultimate way to piss off a pregnant woman.

I took the one hour screening test when I was 8 weeks pregnant with LL, and I passed with flying colors. (Yay!) I took it again when I was 20-something weeks pregnant with LL, and I passed again. (Yay!) But this weekend, once again eight weeks pregnant, I failed it. (Booooooo!) But just barely. I failed it by the itty-bittiest amount possible. Still, a fail is a fail, so I was given the honor of taking the horrid three hour tolerance test this week. Why is this test a form of mild torture for pregnant women, particularly pregnant women with injured backs? Admittedly, a few of these were just my bad luck, but still:

1. You have to fast for at least 12 hours before the test.
2. While the 12-hour fast is already making your nauseous, you have to drink a big bottle of sugar syrup, really fast.
3. You now have to sit in a waiting room for three hours while they draw your blood once an hour. Still can't eat anything.
4. You're not allowed to move around much, because it throws off the readings. So you're restricted to remain sitting in the awkward waiting room chairs for the entire three hours, even if your back is killing you. The nurse will yell at you if you try to stand instead of sit.
5. There's probably free wifi at the clinic where you're getting your blood drawn, but don't think that you'll actually be able to work for those three hours. The wifi is nearly guaranteed to be out of order for all but 15 minutes of your three hour wait. You didn't have anything important to work on anyway, right?
6. Every single cigarette smoker and perfume wearer will decide to sit down next to you while you wait. What's that? You're in your first trimester and you're really sensitive to smells? And as previously mentioned, you're not allowed to get up and walk to somewhere less smelly? Awwww.
7. After the test, you'll realize that you're about to be late for an important meeting, so you don't have time to grab something to eat. All in all, you'll end up fasting for 17 hours. At least you had that yummy nauseating sugar syrup for breakfast at the clinic, right?
8. You made it to your meeting, and you finally got some food. You desperately want to go home and lie down. Unfortunately, you now have a pounding headache and feel lightheaded every time you stand up. Can't drive home like that!

And the final insult? The cherry on the top of a freaking fantastic week? You fail the test. But again, just barely. The glucose tolerance test has a total of four blood draws. I had always read that failing two of them means that you have GD, but failing just one of them means that you're fine, but they'll want to test you again several weeks later. Well... I only failed one of them. And again, just by the itty-bittiest amount. My other three blood draws were comfortably in the normal range, not even borderline. But this morning Dr. M called to tell me that they recently changed the guidelines, and now failing even one of them is considered enough to diagnose with GD.

So... I have to take a GD nutrition class next week, and then I have to start monitoring my glucose levels. I don't actually believe that I have GD, but I'm no medical expert, so I guess it's better to be safe than sorry. We'll see how it looks after a week or two of monitoring.

Did I mention that I was on my way to meet with my lawyer (yep, as of this week, I have a lawyer) when Dr. M called, because the other guy's auto insurance are being jerks about paying for my medical bills, even though they've already admitted liability for the accident? Did I mention that my in-laws and my entire extended family are all arriving from out of town in less than a week? Did I mention that I'm walking through my university's graduation ceremony in ten days, on the blind faith that I'll be finishing my PhD this summer? Did I mention that AdvisorA has been sitting on a draft chapter of my thesis for more than five weeks without communicating with me at all? Did I mention that I need a full draft of the entire thesis in one month in order to have any prayer of anyone on my committee reading it, and thanks to AdvisorA's neglect, I have to put it all together with zero feedback on how I'm planning to structure it?

Did I mention that glucose levels can be artificially elevated by stress?


  1. I'm so sorry. if it helps, the GD diet actually helps with nausea!

  2. Oh dear, this is not helpful at all for the dissertation! I don't know how long you've been reading my blog but I was also diagnosed with very borderline GD and landed up having a slightly growth restricted baby from following the guidelines just a bit TOO well (which is to say that there is now some evidence that putting borderline women on a crazy diet and having them panic every time their sugar spikes may have downsides). I really don't mean to give (unwanted and unecessary) advice but you should remind the GD clinic when you go there that your labs were borderline to start.

    I hope the class is good. I have plenty of advice for getting through it (not all of it productive at all. I managed to decline dessert only by packing it up and adding it to a 'freezer stash of sugar' which kept me gaining weight for weeks after the baby was safely delivered but helped me get through). My one real piece of advice is to make sure that someone shows you where to drop blood on your fingers and thighs so that it doesn't hurt (there are several places that avoid nerve endings and really aren't painful. I drew my blood about 8 times a day for months and it was fine). Also ask about exercise guidelines because it's really easy to lower your blood sugar by walking if you slip and eat something which causes it to spike.

  3. It sounds like you have enough stress to make you fail more than one reading. Blech. Maybe you can convince them to test you again when things settle down?

  4. I <3 you title ... it makes sense


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