Monday, October 15, 2012

The Spencer Baby is 10!

We started referring to her as “The Spencer Baby” at Woman’s Hospital because the radiology department called her that for weeks before she was born. Cecilia was our fifth baby and three of her siblings were born early at Woman’s. It’s easier to call the high-risk ones “Last name-Baby” in case they don’t make it, but The Spencer Baby was more of a worthy opponent or a frustrating chore because she was our first to approach full term and she was big, bold and HATED invitro monitoring.

They took turns tricking each other into landing the chore – The Spencer Baby is waiting in Room 4!

She was almost 9 pounds, transverse and breached – yeah, ouch – and when monitored, she turned and twisted away and once just “kicked” at the probe so all the radiologist saw was a big foot pressed against the screen. I would say that’s a good sign, right?

She was born one week before my own birthday. The first time I saw her was from a bed in ICU. They told me I couldn’t hold her alone because I was on too much medication and hooked to too many monitors. OK, I said, take them all off and point me to the hallway. Her father walked into ICU and was wondering why I was in the hall, clinging to the side of the wall. I looked at him, turned my head to the side, smirked a little and said “Tell them to bring me my baby.”

She’s been my motivation and muse every since. I know I’m one of those “old mommies,” but children need all we can give them and I put a lot into my health, career and life because Cece needed me. Along the way, she became the source of endless blessings. “I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread.”

I quit jobs because they were not best for Cecilia and took jobs that sounded “like fun” to Cecilia. Basically, she was the barometer that the Lord has used to guide me from newspapers to Web development to higher education to PR to consulting to “whatever I do now” as I work for Spencer Media Solutions. Got to admit, this job is “great” for Cecilia.

I’m 10 years older, but more than 100 pounds lighter and a non-medication-maintained diabetic and problems with hypertension and back and knee pain are a thing of the past. I didn’t want to be the skinny mom. I wanted to be the productive, ALIVE mom when my daughter walked across the stage to accept her Ph.D. – I figured I would have to tie her shoe strings at least.

I know I’ve become older, wiser and stronger because everything in my life was geared to being the best, the healthiest or the most industrious mother this child could have. God is blessing her through me and vice versa.

We have been blessed with the most tremendous village and I’m thankful to you for being a part of it.

Happy Birthday, Cecilia Grace Spencer …The Spencer Baby is rolling in the double digits!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Seizing control: 10 tips to help manage diabetes

The following tips come from the Food and Health Communications service and look at 10 ways to take control of your health and diabetes. It's very easy to be overwhelmed by all the advice and directives. Instead of trying to solve all your problems "today," it might be more affective to educate yourself each day and make the baby steps toward health and wellness.
  • A scaled-down approach. Control your weight if you are overweight. Type 2 diabetes linked to obesity often disappears if the obesity is corrected.
  • Exercise your rights to a healthy you. Participate in regular physical activity. Regular physical activity improves fitness and quality of life and decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also helps with weight control. In Type 2 diabetes, regular physical activity helps to improve blood glucose control and possibly decrease the need for insulin or oral medications.  
  • Understand and limit saturated fat. Watch the amount of saturated fat, trans-fat and cholesterol you consume, as they tend to raise blood cholesterol levels. Foods to watch out for include fatty meats, fried foods, high fat dairy products, bakery goods and margarine. Choose lean cuts of meat and limit yourself to 3-ounce portions twice a day. Eat less red meat and more skinless poultry and fish. Use beans as your main dish instead of meat.
  • Daily doses of fiber. Increase your intake of fiber. Fiber comes from plants and may help to lower blood glucose and levels of fats in the blood. Foods high in fiber include bran cereals, cooked beans and peas, whole-grain bread, fruits and vegetables.
  • Wholesome, healthy foods. Eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables as opposed to refined foods. Not only do whole foods contain fiber, but they also contain numerous plant chemicals, or phytochemicals, which appear to be beneficial for health.
  • Work on the balancing act. Eat regular, well-balanced meals with snacks as needed. This will help to improve your blood glucose levels and reduce overeating. A well-balanced meal consists of about 1/4 protein foods and 3/4 carbohydrate foods.
  • Remember, "free" can carry a price. Understand that “sugar-free” doesn’t mean carbohydrate-free or calorie-free. “Sugar-free” foods are often sweetened with fructose or sugar alcohols (xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol). These sweeteners may have a  smaller effect on your blood glucose levels than table sugar, and they are okay to use in moderate amounts. But foods containing fructose or the sugar alcohols will still contain calories. Even foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners (such as sugar-free pudding) still have calories and are not “free” foods.
  • Understand the need to understand carbs. Know the carbohydrate content of the foods you eat. Carbohydrates occur naturally in milk and fruit, and are also found in pasta, bread, rice, dried beans and peas, and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn or green peas. Depending on the type, carbohydrates can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, or keep levels more steady. This means that while there is a carbohydrate limit for diabetics, it is also important to make wise choices about the type of carbohydrate consumed.
  • Be an informed drinker. Use alcohol in moderation. If your blood glucose levels are in good control and alcohol is consumed with foods containing carbohydrate, one drink a day is acceptable. However, it is important to monitor your blood glucose to know how you react to alcohol since alcohol can lead to hypoglycemia.
  • Knowledge is power. Know where to go for reliable information. The following organizations offer credible information for consumers with diabetes: