Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Someone hit me with a pretty stick

My New "Back to Obedience School" Duds

Hola, Cowgirl here. I live alone but keep two large monkeys as pets. Occasionally the female monkey will come home with clothes and jewelry for me. This time it's a green-and-blue necklace and a brown Gap sweater, size small, 100% cotton.

I like cotton 'cause it doesn't itch.

The female monkey seems excited these days because it's finally cool outside. She's even contemplating buying a new perfume for fall, l'Orientaliste Santal. She says it smells like no other sandalwood she's tried. She says it's the very essence of fall, all dry taupes and greys, like a walk in the woods in early November.

To me it smells like a romp in a just-raked pile of crispy brown leaves. I hope she hurries up and buys a bottle so I can rub my head in the mist that falls on the carpet after she sprays it on. I miss doing that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

First in a Series: Overheard Student Comments

Every day after lunch I have to walk for 20 minutes to keep my blood sugar in check. Doctor's orders. Because my building is located on the quad, I've taken to walking twice around the long rectangle of grass, trees, sidewalks, and buildings that comprised my university during its infancy.

I could find a place to walk indoors, but I enjoy knowing that the blaring prairie sun will help darken my already-impressive, pregnancy-induced upper-lip chloasma mustache. Also, walking outside allows me to overhear student conversations.

Today's Overheard Student Comment:

"Celtic myth rocks."
(female to female)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

It's a wonderful life

Life Out of Balance

Well, friends, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted because I’ve been too busy teaching, writing, bingeing on chocolate, exercising, and practically passing out from low blood sugar. Mother fuck.

It’s 4:00am as I write this. I’ve been waking up every night between 3:00 and 4:00, unable to fall asleep again until 5:00 or so. I can link this directly to my diet. After eight weeks of strict adherence to a low-carb diet to control my gestational diabetes, I cracked. I simply could not keep it up anymore. By 3:00pm I’d be craving chocolate so badly that I’d have one piece, and one piece would lead to a binge (600-800 calories – I’m not kidding). My afternoon binges were between meals so my blood sugar would be low again by dinnertime. Thus, the binges never showed up on my glucose record. Even my fasting glucose remained low (70s-80s). But after 15 weeks of no weight gain, I’ve gained 7 lbs. in 3 weeks – all from chocolate.

My poor baby is building her body mass entirely from chocolate.

Well, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that I feel like a total worm. This pattern has been disturbing the hell out of me because I know it’s not healthy for me or for the baby. So I ‘fessed up about it to the OB nurses, desperately hoping they could give me some help. Here’s what I got: “Why don’t you try replacing the chocolate with sugar-free cocoa?”

You have got to be kidding me. That’s their idea of advice? Where’s the active problem solving in that approach? Do they tell smokers, “Why don’t you limit yourself to one cigarette per day?” or bulimics, “Why don’t you stop throwing up?” The rational-choice approach to human behavior totally ignores biochemical bases of cravings and addiction. If I’m craving a hit of carbs, sugar-free cocoa ain’t gonna cut it. Why? No carbs! *smashes forehead with palm*

The nurse goes, “This isn’t good for your baby,” and I murmur, “I know that.” What I wanted to say – no, yell – was, “I know that, bee-YOTCH,” Coolio-style. In her defense, I suppose most patients go in there looking for permission to mistreat their bodies. But I went in there telling her point-blank that I wanted her to help me stop this behavior. And here’s what I got: Oh, you want to stop it? Okay, then, stop it. Jesus-peasus-christmas-christ.

As usual, Dad to the rescue. My father has been treated for type II diabetes. He told me that when his blood sugar would drop into the 80s or below, he’d crave sweets so badly that he’d find himself in the grocery store, basket full of Nutter Butters, like a killer who’d blacked out only to awaken and find himself covered in blood. I took a look at my glucose record and found that I’ve basically been living in the 80s (as if my wardrobe weren’t already a clue). My one-hour post-meal draws are almost all in the low 80s or high 70s, and my fasting draws have been in the 70s. The nurses at the OB clinic keep telling me to keep up the good work. But my dad’s experience suggests to me that by keeping my glucose that low, I may have been living in a perpetual state of borderline low blood sugar. Symptoms of low blood sugar include shakiness, irritability, scatterbrainedness (is that a word?), weakness, headache, and major cravings for concentrated carbs. These adjectives pretty much describe my life since I was put on a controlled-carb diet. And did you know that driving with your blood sugar below 80 is akin to driving under the influence? That it actually has the same effect on acuity and reaction time? No joke. If my glucose is in the low 80s one hour after meals, what is it two hours after? Heavens to Betsy. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I’m working out 1.5-2.0 hours a day. Yes, they have me walking 20 minutes after meals, which is an hour/day of cardio, plus my regular strength training regimen of 30-60 minutes. (I’m not willing to give up the latter because it’s the only thing that keeps my back from falling apart and my sciatic pain from turning me into a gibbering bundle of agony.)

I’ve been fucking exhausted, too exhausted to delete all the swear words from this post.

Koyaanisqatsi: life out of balance. This whole cycle completely offends my Libran sensibilities. My days are moving to the beat of a freaking Philip Glass soundtrack.

So, based on my dad’s insight, my pea brain comes upon the following possible scenario: Maybe it’s NOT good to be keeping my blood sugar so low, in spite of the nurses’ praise. Maybe I should try to keep it at the higher end of the acceptable range (less than 120 one hour after meals). Maybe, just maybe, an extra piece of fruit or whole-grain bread at each meal would give me more energy and reduce these cravings, not to mention the almost incessant headaches. And maybe I could substitute one of my beloved high-protein chocolate chip Heart Thrives ( for the 3-4 candy bars I’ve been eating every afternoon.

Yesterday I take this scenario to the OB nurse (the one who told me to try sugar-free cocoa) and she nods: Yeah, sure, that would definitely help. I say to her, “I was under the impression that when it comes to my glucose record, lower is better, assuming it’s not below 70.” She says, “Oh no, most people feel much better at the higher end of the range; just make sure to keep it below 120 after meals.” I’m thinking, Thanks for letting me know. It would have been helpful to have this information before almost losing my fucking mind and drowning my baby in sugar.

Why did it take my father’s insight to help solve a problem my medical professionals were supposed to tackle?

The upshot is, even though I have insomnia tonight (too much chocolate yesterday prior to my appointment – okay, afterward too), I’m feeling hopeful and optimistic for the first time in two months. Today’s plan: to bump up the carbs at lunch with an extra piece of fruit or bread or some yogurt and to eat a Heart Thrive for my afternoon snack.

I’m optimistic that this will help me rediscover my old fun self. It’s amazing how much “personality” is actually comprised of, or at least influenced by, daily habits like food and rest, along with biochemical attributes like hormone levels. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

Okay, time to start swinging the scales back to balance by getting some rest. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Meetcha in the ladies'

It's a Girl

The results of the amnio came back today: genetically normal, double X. To say we feel fortunate and relieved is an understatement. I would have been just as thrilled with a boy, mind you; the joy is over the fact that the child does not have a fatal genetic disorder. But as a woman who never had sisters, I must admit that there's something special about knowing I'm going to have a daughter. A daughter!!


Many thanks again to all of you who offered support and reassurance. I'm not presumptuous enough to assume that all will be okay from here on out, but my biggest and most immediate fears have been put to rest. Hopefully I can now relax a little and start enjoying this pregnancy!

Uh oh. One complication. Jermajesty is a boy's name. I guess we'll have to replace it with a different in-utero moniker. Any suggestions?