Sunday, January 31, 2010
So? My first day is tomorrow! Since I will be focusing on learning the unit's routines and getting used to the new place, I will be doing 8-10 hour day shifts. Since it isn't really feasible for me to drive 4 hours round-trip every day, Monday through Friday for 2-3 weeks, I will be staying up in Jacksonville during the week for as long as I'm doing the shorter day shifts.
There are some technical difficulties to this adventure that make me a little nervous. Like what will I eat? I don't want to eat out the whole time I'm there. Besides being expensive, that's a lot of rich food for a whole week and I don't think my blood sugars or my belly will thank me for that. So one thing I've done to make it a little easier on myself is book a hotel with a mini-kitchen. I've got a full size fridge, stove, oven, sink and microwave. I'll take up some pre-cooked meals and groceries that will help me fix dinners and lunches I can take to work with me. I'm sure I'll eat out a couple of times but it's better than everyday twice a day for a whole week!!!
I do hope my blood sugars behave while I'm away especially while I'm on the job! This will be my first time away from home on the pump so that will be a mini-adventure in itself. I have horrible memories as a kid on trips away from home where something broke on my pump that I couldn't get a replacement for or I didn't pack enough supplies or my cartridges would break (they were made of glass back then) or even a bottle of insulin would break. So I'm definitely freaked out. To make myself feel better I'm just going to over-pack. :-)
So tomorrow morning I will be up and on the road by 6am. And as much as I'm nervous and hating the idea of being away from Brad for such long periods of time . . . I am so, so, so excited!! And I have no idea what in the world I will do with myself for the rest of my days while I'm there?!? But I'm excited for the work and determined to make new friends there!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Ringtail (a dumb name, I know) is 20 years old. I got her for my 7th birthday. Hence, the name is a directly related to me being a dumb 7-year-old who thought it would be clever to name the cat after the. . .wait for it. . . rings that she had around her tail. ::Sigh:: I make no excuses for myself. She was always a sweet cat. Part independence and spunk and another part sweetness and cuddler. She was the only cat and she was always a little regal in nature. She was in charge. And the dogs . . they knew it. The older she gets, the more she just wants attention. To lay in a lap and get her ears scratched. Unfortunately, I haven't been around much to do that lately.
I had 4 animals growing up. Squirt was a little terrier mix who was the sweetest, most loyal pet I've ever known. She was my first dog and I got her when I was 5. She was originally named "Lady" but "Lady" and "Lanie" got confusing (especially when my mom was shouting for one of us from across the house) so we decided to change her name. We had been calling her a little squirt ever since we'd gotten her and eventually the nickname stuck. She was dumb as a box of rocks but she loved me so much and I felt the same way about her. She died my first year away at college at 17 years old and I was absolutely heart-broken.
Jasmine was a rottweiler who wouldn't hurt a fly. We got her on my 11th birthday and I got her name from the movie Aladdin, that had just come out 6 months before. My mom had always loved rottweilers and when she heard about a friend who had rottweiler puppies, she couldn't resist. Supposedly, Jasmine was my dog. But we all knew better. Jasmine and I were buddies and we loved each other very much. But she was my mom's dog and everyone knew it. They had a bond from day 1. Some people were afraid of her (at her biggest, she weighed 140 pounds!) but her worst fault is she'd try to lick you to death if you gave her the chance. She absolutely loved people. When she passed, my mom was devastated. We both loved her but it really tore my mom up. She was 11 years old, too young and still so sweet.
Finally, Yup was the dog we didn't figure on. My mom's boyfriend brought him home from a site that he was working at. He was a stray lab-mix puppy at the time and only a few months younger than Jasmine. He was named for the activity that he did constantly throughout his puppyhood. Though, he did grow out of the barking habit eventually. Eventually this boyfriend moved in and brought his dog with him. Yup was a nice dog but he bonded more with Jasmine than anyone else in the house. Those two dogs were best buds. When one left for a while, the other would be miserable until they got back. When the boyfriend left the picture, we ended up keeping Yup because we couldn't bear to split the two up. Yup survived all my other dogs. And I know he hated losing Jasmine as much as the rest of us did. He died last year, out of the blue, at 15 years old.
And now Ringtail is sick. She is 20 years old and that cat outlasted them all. I'm 27 years old and these animals represent part of my childhood. It hurt so much to know that they are old and sick. I love them and have so many memories of each of them. Saying goodbye to them is so hard and I wonder if they know how much I still care about them, even if I'm not there everyday. I have a serious soft spot for these (and all) animals. They were so good to me, there for me and so loyal and and sweet. And now the last one is leaving me. I hate that I couldn't be there more for them and that even though they started out as mine, as I grew up I had to leave them. So I'm leaving now to join my mom at the vet's. It really is a sad day.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
A lot of people who know anything about diabetes were pretty surprised when they realized that I wasn't on the pump. I tell them my A1C and they tend to zip it. But truly, it's the in thing to do, thought of as the top-of-the-line way to manage Type 1 diabetes. The only way, according to some. And, at first, I loved mine as much as everyone else seemed to love theirs. It took my A1C's from being in the high 7's and low 8's to being 6.2 after the first 3 months out!! But over time my A1C's started to slip again. They weren't as bad as they had been but they settled back into the low to mid 7's and didn't budge.
And I knew why. I was a teenager and hated my diabetes. I used my pump as a quick fix. I'd be noshing on something at a party, take out the pump, beep-beep-beep, and think "OK, that'll do it." Not really counting my carbs. Not really paying attention to my boluses. Doing just enough so I'd feel ok and be able to put the pump away and forget about my diabetes again. I'd like to say that I'd matured by the time I was in college. Saw the big picture about my diabetes and wanted to take control again. But if it were just that I could have stayed on the pump. (That maturity came eventually, but it was later when I was in nursing school.)
No, by that time, I was just friggin' sick of the thing. The sites were huge and painful to put in (no inserters back in the day and all the sites went in at a 45-degree angle . . yuck!). And, as a result, I did it as little as possible, leaving sites in until they were practically falling out (5-ish days or so on average, sometimes longer). Usually by the time I'd change it, my old site would be red and puffy and leaky. I even had a nasty infection once. Unfortunately that didn't deter my laziness. On top of that, the whole set change was an obnoxious process that, again, I hated doing. So it seemed like I would put it off and put it off until, of course, I'd get an "empty cartridge" alarm at a most inconvenient time.
And speaking of alarms, OMG! It seemed like every other second that thing would alarm about something or other. "Low Batt." "Low Cartridge." Or the dreaded "Occlusion" alarm. Looking back, I'm sure I got those all the time because my sites were awful but at the time, I only focused on how annoying it was. It seems like there was always a part to the pump that could break, get empty or need replacing at any given time!! Tubing, cartridge, battery, insulin, site, etc, etc . . . . And that's whole lot of crap to carry around all the time "just in case."
Not to mention having that damn thing attached to me all the time! As a girl, I maintain my right to be indecisive about my outfits. Well, it's quite annoying to have something attached to you when you are walking around naked or mostly naked, trying to figure out what to wear. And I remember always having to stand close to the bed, dresser, nightstand, etc so that I had something to hold my pump. And when I say "close" I mean within 23 inches, because that's how long my tubing was (and is). Um, don't know about all the other ladies out there, but sometimes I have to bend over, or flail or kick a knee out to get into something and it doesn't always allow for me to be within 23 inches of a piece of friggin' furniture!! And then of course the pump drops off of whatever is holding it and tugs on the site or maybe even yanks it out! Ugh.
Alright, that's enough kvetching. Can you tell that I was just so very over it? I really liked not being attached to anything, not having alarms and the comfort of knowing that as long as I had at least one syringe and a bottle of insulin, I was good to go. Plus, after those ridiculously huge needles I was using for my sites, the little syringe needles felt like nuthin' going in!
But here I am on the pump again, on the advice of my MD (re: pregnancy planning). The first couple of days I felt like total crap! My sugars ran the gamut from the high 200's to a shaky, weak-knee'd low of 30 in the middle of the night. I hated going from knowing exactly what to do to fix a low or a high or how much to bolus for a meal. . . . to not having one freaking clue. Do I change my basal or my carb ratio? If I change my basal which hours do I change? Sure, I could make a well-educated guess, but who know if it'd work? All this trial and error while my sugars are just standing there laughing at me. And I feel awful when I'm out of range so I spent several days feeling like crap never knowing what my blood sugar was going to do. And the whole being attached to something thing was driving be batty again. I was hoping since it took so many years to get on my nerves the first time, it wouldn't be so bad to start out with. Uh, no.
But, to my utter shock and amazement, I've kinda gotten used to it. It took about 3 or 4 days but my blood sugars started settling down and I'm slowly finding ways around being annoyed by the pump being attached all the time. And, can I just say, how much, much, much more comfortable the sites are now? Holy geez? Back in the day, my sites would itch and sting and drive me nuts, even when they were new! But I can barely even feel these new sites! Big improvement. Also, the first few days I had no clue how to wear my pump when I was in PJs. I mean I don't have PJ's with pockets so where do I put it? My Disetronic used to have a clip built into the back of it but it didn't really hold on to anything, so I never used it. I gave the snap-on Animas clip a try on my 2nd or 3rd night with the pump and it works like a charm!! Plus this thing has way better software, love the meter remote (seriously, love it!) and it's super cute!
There are still things that annoy me about it but it's much more bearable than I thought it would be. Overall I'm getting happier with it by the day. I'm still not sure if I'll stay on it after the pregnancy is over but we'll see. I also have a few more things that I need to adjust to with the pump and a few more hurdles to deal with. I'd love some advice from anyone in the DOC on pumping. I'm sure you guys have figured all this stuff out and I'd love to skip all the trial and error!
Things I'm still trying to get used to:
- Wearing a dress or a nightgown. I haven't even tried this yet because I have no clue where I'd put the pump. I don't own any of those pump-wear products and don't really love the idea of spending all that money on them. The Animas has a remote control meter so I guess I could put it in my bra since I won't have to go digging it out when I need to bolus. But I'm not so sure how it would hold?? Any advice??
- What to do when I'm naked?!? I know this is a weird subject but seriously when there is nothing to clip the pump to, what's the easiest thing to do with it? Do you just hold it? (Thing is, I really don't like only having one hand to work with when trying to get dressed . . . ) Disconnect it? Let it drag on the ground?
- Do you always trust the "insulin-on-board" feature? Sometimes I think that it's giving the IOB way too much credit and not recommending a high enough bolus for my blood sugar. Sometimes I'm right and I need to bolus over and over again to get my sugar to come down and sometimes I'm wrong and it works fine based on the math done by the pump. It's weird for me to let it do all the math for me, though. It's nice in some ways but I'm just so used to guessing my own "IOB" that I don't know that I always agree with the pump. What about you?
- Where to put sites? Back in the day it was mostly abdomen and occasionally flank. Now I'm rotating between abdomen and flank about 50/50. But I know that it's become more popular to rotate them to arms, legs, etc. And I'd love to try my arm but are there any issues with tubing length or getting tangled in clothes etc when you use the arm/leg sites?
- Last one! Sleeping. I keep waking up because the pump is all tangled around me or I've rolled over on to it and it's uncomfortable. Any suggestions?
Monday, January 11, 2010
Years ago, I signed up for blogger and at the time "LayneNP" was my username for everything so I just went with it when I was deciding the blog address. But at the beginning of 2008, when I decided I was actually going to try out blogging, I knew I had to figure out a real name. I knew that I wanted it to be something that summed up my life, but how do you say that in a few words? What is my life? Family? Friends? Work? School? Diabetes? It's so many things! All at once!
When trying find a way to word something, I have always gone to song lyrics. They just seem to make the most sense to me with their nonsensical lines and profound words. Since Semi-Charmed Life was one of my favorites it jumped out first. And it seemed to fit my life. Because one thing that stuck out to me was that over my relatively short life so far, I'd had a lot of highs and lows, even more so than most. My life has always been a little bit of something good and then a little bad, something wonderful followed by something devastating. So for those of you who don't know a whole lot about my background, a little history . . . .
**Warning: There is some deep, mushy stuff to follow. Turn back now if that isn't your thing!! **
I grew up with the best mom ever and two grandparents who were more like second parents. But I never knew my (biological) dad. (Side note: I hate saying I didn't grow up with a real dad. . because I did, it's just that he was really my grandfather. Still, he was the best dad ever.) My mom and "dad" had been married but divorced when I was a baby and he was just never around. Anyway, I would find out later that my biological dad had diabetes. (Bastard. The one thing I didn't really want from him he gave me. Isn't that always the way. . .?)
Like I said, I never knew him growing up and just as I was starting to ask questions about who he was and realize that some things about my family weren't quite like other families, we got a phone call. We learned in 1989, when I was 7 years old, that my biological dad had died quite suddenly. He was only 42. He was diabetic (also Type 1) and, from what I was told didn't take very good care of himself in his later years and was starting to suffer from complications. He died of a massive heart attack without warning, again likely a complication of his diabetes.
You might think that since I never knew my dad I wouldn't really be affected by his death. But it was actually the opposite. Losing a parent that I didn't know was actually very devastating to me because it represented a path that I could now never go down. If there were any questions I had about my dad or for my dad they would now forever go unanswered. Who was he? What was he like? Why didn't he want a relationship with me? How did he handle his diabetes? Did we share the same frustrations? Did he think of me? Did he love me? These were all questions that were destined to go unanswered and the finality of all that was really hard for me. Not to mention knowing nothing about a person who (genetically) makes up half of who I am. . . that's just . . . well . . . hard.
This is a picture of my dad with me as a baby. It's one of the very few I have of him and I together. I was very young and if you look closely, you can see I still have my umbilical cord. Not the cutest kid in the world, but still not a reason for him to be such a jackass. ;-)
A year after losing my (biological) dad, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy and held it together amazingly well from my 8 year old perspective. I was scared, but absolutely sure she'd be fine. And she was. Thank God.
The next year, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Yeah, that sucked. 'Nuf said.
I went into my teen years bitter and angry. In high school, I made amazing friends that made me forget all that and just have fun. The good, clean, happy fun. . . nothing harmful. At that point I was just learning to be happy again. I graduated high school in 2000 and was surprised how upset I was to leave home and go to college. I loved the University of Florida and had some of the greatest times in Gainesville but that initial transition ended up being much more difficult that I had anticipated. Then, in 2001, my grandfather (my real dad) was diagnosed with cancer. It was very aggressive but I had been through this before and I was sure everything would be fine.
Now, I'm a skeptic for the most part and use logic and common sense to find my way through life. I'm not much for going with your gut or feelings or premonitions so please remember that when I say what I'm about to say. It was New Year's Eve at the end of 2001 and I was getting ready to go out and celebrate. My grandfather had been diagnosed with cancer for a few weeks and was about to start chemotherapy. For some reason I was getting ready and thinking about the coming year and a feeling just washed over me. I realized that I wouldn't see another New Year's Eve with my grandfather. I say that I "realized" knowing that it sounds crazy because how could I know anything about the future? The doctors were telling us it would be a hard fight but they never said it was futile.
But somehow I knew. It hit me that night like a MAC truck that I would lose him soon. I had no clue how to handle it and moved forward without telling anyone what I was thinking. I didn't want to go back to school that spring semester. I wanted to stay at home and soak up memories of my grandfather. His smile, his smell, his laugh. I wanted more time. But didn't know how to justify staying home, so off to school I went. I came home often throughout the semester to visit. My grandfather's health quickly deteriorated and thanks to some wonderfully understanding professors who let me take my finals early, I was able to go home and spend his last 4 days with him at home.
This is one of my favorite pictures of him and I. I know it's not the greatest. He's shirtless, I'm looking like hell with my PJ's and rocking some serious bed-head. But that's how we were. Happy, casual, goofing off. And he was always right there to look out for me. Seriously. Best. Dad. Ever.
His loss devastated me. After my biological dad died, I lived in (irrational) fear of losing one of my parents (my mom, my grandmother and my grandfather). And the thing I fear most had just happened and it was so much worse than anything I had ever imagined. How could I live without him? Who would tease me at the dinner table? Who would I call for advice on my car? Who would walk me down the aisle? Who would be a grandfather to my children?
I felt as thought I had lost a part of myself and was now supposed to function like nothing was wrong. I cried and cried and cried. I cried myself asleep. Whenever I was alone, I cried. I cried so much it hurt. I pretended he wasn't gone. Anything to kid myself into thinking that everything would be okay again. I don't know if I was clinically depressed. I never saw anyone or took any meds but I was devastated for a long while. It's still hard to talk about him without breaking down. I wouldn't wish that kind of loss on anyone.
And yet, among all this grief and heartache and death and disease, I really had a great childhood. I had amazing friends that are still my friends to this day. I went to an amazing school (Go Gators!) where I did some soul-searching before deciding what I wanted to do with my life. I got my first "F" in college, which for a straight-A-er like me, might as well have been the end of the world. But as a nurse I also saved lives on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. And through it all I had Brad standing by my side, encouraging me, grounding me, loving me.
So when I thought of "semi-charmed life" it really seemed to fit what I was about. Nothing was ever easy and there were heartaches along the way but there was always happiness too. I love my life and I can't wait to see what's around the next corner!
Friday, January 8, 2010
It's these times when I truly realize what it means to say that we all get it. I hope she won't mind me sharing a few of her words with you. She had a lot to say in her post which start off largely about people who are close to someone with diabetes and how easy and foolish it is for them to point the blame at the person when their health is in poor control or when they've given up on their diabetes management.
(Side note: I'll even go one step further and call it selfish and egotistical to think that this disease is so easily handled that any misstep deserves someone else's ire and annoyance. As much as I love my husband and appreciate everything he's ever done to make my management that much easier, it is NOT his disease. HE is not managing it, HE does not feel the lows and the highs, HE doesn't have to remember to correct for ever bloodsugar, every snack, every meal, HE is not weighed down by the worry of future complications with HIS body and HE can easily forget that there are shots to be taken and blood sugar to be tested without any consequence to HIS day. That's all MY burden to carry.
I love him for helping but to make me feel like my burden is putting him out, which is how a lot of these spouses seem to feel, would be the height of selfishness and arrogance. Being supportive is caring that your loved one has a burden and wanting to make it lighter, it's being scared of the complications they might have because it breaks your heart to know they are hurting. It's NOT being annoyed by their lack of stamina or precision or their expression of frustration when it comes to their diabetes management because let me tell you, this disease sucks. And, you know what? We all lose our way and we all find ourselves having a day where it feels like our responsibilities are strangling us. Whether it's our job, our family, our finances, everyone has those responsibilities that they wish they could run away from or at least avoid for a while. And imagine if yours was diabetes? Can you? That's a pretty awesome responsibility. And there is no precision to it, there is only routine and a lot of educated guessing when things don't happen they way the doctors say they should. And as far as stamina, after dealing with this monkey on my back for 18 years I can just say that is the hardest part of all. Rant over.)
LeeAnn also spoke of the Casey Johnson headlines and how many media outlets are blaming her for her death, saying she did not control her diabetes well enough. LeeAnn was talking about the finger-pointing and the blame that can sometimes permeate this disease. She went on to say that maybe the blame isn't so easily pinned on the person with diabetes, perhaps there is enough to go around. Here are some of her words that resonated with me the most:
"I could almost hear the accusations that they did it to themselves. But did they? I’ve been down that road, so perhaps I’m biased, but I like to think I also have a shred of insight into how and why a diabetic travels that road at all. I think it’s shortsighted to lay the blame solely at the feet of anyone who’s lost their way with diabetes management. As a former non-compliant diabetic, I don’t mean to suggest that I didn’t have a hand in the self-destruction. It’s called self-destruction for a reason after all. However, it’s important to remember that diabetes mismanagement doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are outside forces that can and do have an effect on disease outcome. Maybe the responsibility needs to be shared.. . .
I agree that the treatment protocol is ridiculous and labor-intensive. Pretending to be a pancreas day in and day out isn’t as fun as it sounds. If doing this crap every day until I die isn’t a complete time/energy/emotion succubus, I don’t know what is. People without diabetes only have the hardship of imagining living like this for a few seconds before they have the luxury of conveniently dismissing it as not as bad as we say it is without ever really having to do it.
We all know the rest of the world doesn’t “get” what it’s like to live with diabetes. Many think it’s the disease of fat people who eat too many donuts, and we just need to get off our collective asses and go for a walk, so we’ll all be cured. Forward your thank you notes to just about any mass media outlet for that prevalent misconception. If people are paying attention, they might notice the pump tubing and realize it isn’t a phone, or worse, a beeper, the surreptitious fingersticks, the dazed expression of a low BG. They aren’t privy to the perpetual mental purgatory where you are forever destined to obsess about how much insulin you took, how much you should take, what you should or shouldn’t eat and how many carbs might be hiding in it, and how this, that or the other thing is going to affect your blood sugar. All the bleeping time. Arguing. Cooking. Conversing. Dancing. Decorating the Christmas tree. Doing laundry. Driving. Funerals. Gardening. Graduations. Grocery shopping. House hunting. Job interviews. Masturbation. Meetings at work. Mini-golf. Movies. Participating in sports. Parties. Playing games. Reading. Sex. Shoveling snow. Showering. Signing up for a checking account. Sleeping. Standing in line at airport security. Taking exams. Trying on clothes at the mall. Vacationing. Walking the dog. Watching TV. Weddings. It interrupts everything.
And that’s not supposed to get tiring? We’re supposed to be OK with it and just suck it up without complaining, being pissed, or wanting to quit? When we aren’t OK with it, and we get tired, angry, depressed, and unmotivated, we’re seen as weak, lazy, undedicated, irresponsible, and of poor character? That’s justified, how exactly?
Since this is the treatment protocol with which we’re stuck though, how about a little more support from those people who call themselves our diabetes care teams? To a large extent, the label is a misnomer since we’re the ones burdened with all the work, but that shouldn’t absolve them of their responsibility to better support us. Where is the general consensus by the medical community that they’re screwing up by not providing the resources we need to properly manage this time, labor and emotion-intensive disease?"
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. But it's still just as true . . . It's just so nice to know that there are those out there that get it. Makes you feel a little less crazy and a lot less alone and way more validated! And don't we all love a little validation! ;-)Something to think about,
Sunday, January 3, 2010
So I'm kind of wondering how normal my coverage is? Please weigh in! My insurance is covering a straight 80% of all pump costs. This means that I have to pay $1150 for my pump, which includes $120 for my first set of supplies. The Animas rep says that the supplies technically come as a 90-day supply but can last longer (up to 4 months) depending on user habits.
I was expecting the fees for the supplies, but I wasn't expecting such a high start-up cost for the pump itself. Is this normal? I don't know why but I thought we were expected to pay our copay for the supplies but that the insurance company pretty much covered the pump. Am I dreaming?
Friday, January 1, 2010
I guess they just really didn't want to approve the Omnipod. Because the only thing we changed about this appeal was the pump I was asking for. I decided to go with the Animas Ping and see what happened and, sure enough, it worked!
For me, the big deciding factor was the fact that with the Ping I could control the pump remotely with the meter. As a girl who wears outfits that don't always include pockets, it's a pain to dig out the pump every time I need to bolus. I love this upgrade and it was a big selling factor for the Omnipod as well. I already wasn't a big fan of how bulky the Omnipod was and I think that might have been just as much of a pain as the tubing will be with the Ping. So it's kind of an even trade.
Also, I really liked the Inset infusion set that comes with the Ping. It comes with a built-in insertion device, which I've never used before, but seems kinda handy. Plus, I really like the all-in-one packaging that means I can carry around less crap in my "back-up-supplies" stash. And I don't have to worry about throwing out my sharp because the container closes up to store the needle and can be thrown away like normal. Kerri reviewed the Inset here and pretty much seemed to like the same things about it that I did.
The rep from Animas (who has been uber nice, by the way, all of them have been on the ball and super helpful . . . I mean, they got me my pump in three days!) said I should get my pump in the mail on Monday (Jan. 4th). Then I just need to set up a meeting with the pump educator to get started. The last time I started the pump (way back in 1996) I had to spend the whole day with the educator learning about the pump,how to insert a site, change the cartridge, yada yada yada. Well, I did all that for years so I'm kinda good with all that stuff, so hopefully they won't keep me all day. I just need to learn the Animas software and I'll be set. Either way, I'll deal 'cuz I'm just too happy to complain.
And one of the biggest reasons I'm so happy isn't really the pump. It's the fact that I can do this whole pregnancy thing right. Last year, my Endo strongly recommended that I start the pump before trying to conceive. Well, we were planning on starting in February and I was quickly running out of time. It was such a relief to realize that it all happened in time. I was really happy with MDI's but I know pregnancy is really going to throw my blood sugars for a loop and I think that the pump will really help me stay on top of things!! YAY!!
Happy 2010 to me!