Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A weekend without Henry.

For those not in the loop, Henry is my pump. This weekend I had to go without him. Long story short, Henry crapped out. Over the weekend, naturally.

I've been meaning to address the issue of a backup plan with my endo, but I keep forgetting. Really. I've been pumping for... 12 years now. I've only had to resort to a backup once, and it was only overnight, so I just dealt with it using Humalog. Because all great things happen on the weekend, I had to call into my endo's office to talk to the on-call nurse, who didn't seem happy to hear from me. She ended up prescribing me Lantus. "Now, you remember how to use Lantus, right?" she said hopefully. No. I've never taken Lantus in my life. "WHAT?!? You've never taken Lantus?! What on earth were you taking before you started your pump?" I was taking Humulin N in 2002 when I started pumping.

After that ordeal, my mother drove me to the pharmacy to get my Lantus and a baggy full of syringes (yes, I'm 24 and I still run to my mommy when there's a problem. And boyfriend was busy).

I only had to inject it twice, but that stuff burns. Wowza. Mad props to the people who do this every day. In addition to the Lantus, I had to give multiple shots of Humalog. I'm so used to just pressing some buttons and getting my insulin. Now I have to do math? Ugh. Well, at least now I have a calculator on my phone to help me out and my ratios are fairly easy. 

Monday morning I rushed home from my anatomy/physiology test to get home in time to meet the UPS guy. I almost hugged him, but he mocked my shirt, so I just signed and took the package. 

All in all, I think having a broken pump was good for me. I mean, not the hyperglycemia or the blind panic, obviously. The experience of having to go back to MDI, even temporarily really made me appreciate how awesome it is to have a pump, and it highlighted exactly how much I depend on it. The dependency is a little frightening on its own, but I'm learning to cope with it.  

I'm so thankful for my pump. I love my little Henry. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Why I Share My Imperfection

My most recent A1C results are in. 8.3. I swear it was going to be so much better than that. I'm actually very disappointed with that number because my day-to-day numbers do not average 200+, even considering the Christmas feast week that would be included in this result. I don't know what's going on, and it upsets me. As a matter of fact, I'm a little ashamed that I can't get things under better control.

If I'm so ashamed of my crappy results, why do I bother to post them on the internet for everyone to read? I do it because I think people like me need to share our stories too. A lot of places on the internet are run by diabetics with sub-7 A1C values who like to pretend that diabetes is easy for them and should be easy for me. For me, diabetes has never been easy, and getting my numbers in line has been a constant struggle since I was 7 years old. Somehow, I hope I'm reaching someone who is roaming the internet looking for people like them, people who are struggling to control this beast, but not seeing the results they'd like.

It's been a long battle for me to even get my A1C down to the 8's. I found an old lab report in my car the other day, dated November of 2012. My A1C was close to 12 at that point. I just... yuck. I mean, yuck. And I've been trying since January of 2013 to actually do something about it. 8.3 is the best I've been able to get. It's very discouraging. Sometimes I feel like giving up because it's never going to get better, but then I realize there is absolutely ZERO chance it's going to get better if I don't try.

I've never been a quitter. I hated playing basketball when I was younger, but I was pretty okay at playing, and I stuck it out to the end of the season. I'm a piccolo player, and if you know anything about piccolos and music, you'll know how much work I've put in to being able to do this 90% of the time:

Why should diabetes be any different? It sucks, and I have to hit a LOT of numbers out of range, but maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to consistently hit it in range consistently someday. 

I've been trying so very hard, and my results are not something I'm super proud of. 8.3. I can't remember the last time I had candy when I wasn't low. I miss desserts and waffles and all those other delicious things that make my body unhappy (this is where I'm happy pizza doesn't mess me up as badly as it seems to mess up a lot of people). I still eat these things, but I know the consequences, and that prevents me from eating them frequently.

So, in short, I share my diabetes imperfections in hopes that I can somehow help people in my situation feel less alone. Or maybe if there is someone out there who needs the kick in the pants to start taking better care of yourself, know that it's possible. Also know that the struggles is real, and just because you're doing everything right doesn't mean the numbers will reflect it. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

From the trenches, reporting from the endo's office

Somebody once wrote: Hell is the impossibility of reason. That's what this place feels like. Hell. I hate it, and it's only been an hour. 

Okay, I took a slight liberty there. But I was at the endocrinologist's office today, and I couldn't help but draw the comparisons. The first step: Separate me from things I find comforting.

Of course, I did get it back, but it's the principle that is dirty. The left me sit to rot in boredom. Sure, I had a heap of textbooks that I could read, but they really wanted me to suffer like that? I did use the tools at my disposal to keep my mind sharp: text books and a feeble LTE connection. I needed to make sure those on the outside knew of my suffering.

I was onto their trickery.

And then finally... it got worse. So much worse.

This is an office run by sadists. They want me to be off of my mental game so I will spill my diabetes secrets. They want me to admit to eating four cookies on December 15th. D'oh! My mind is still mushy from the abuse.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Diabetes Art Day 2014

My family moved states three months after my diagnosis. My mother figured I was having a hard time with everything, and took me to see a child therapist. She pulled out a bucket of McDonald's scented markers (really) and told me to draw a picture of how diabetes made me feel. At this point, I just stared at her for a few minutes until she changed tactics. It was a good try with a sound theory, but my primary means of expression has been and probably always will be words. Writing. Emphatic speaking.

I made my entry back in October, but I never really explained it.

I started saving my insulin bottles after I was really getting into DSMA chats, specifically to create this image. The idea is that everyone in the DOC experiences diabetes differently. We are bound by our carb-counting ways, by medication and misunderstandings. In that regard we are the same. To me, diabetes management means one thing. For you, it probably means something a little different. For someone who is not diabetic, but is really trying to understand diabetes, they have to take in each shade of experience and blend them together to get the full picture. My management is red, and yours might be blue, but diabetes is altogether a spectrum that can't really be measured through one experience or one color.

And that, my friends, is the idea behind this image. 

Spare a Rose, Save a Child: Ditch Flowers this Valentine's Day.

February has just begun, and Valentine's Day is quickly approaching. The traditional gifts to give your sweetheart include chocolates and flowers, but what if you could give your darling something equally as inexpensive but infinitely more meaningful? What if I told you that for the cost of a rose ($5), you could provide a month's worth of insulin to a child in need? Through the Spare A Rose campaign, you can.

Why? In many countries around the world, a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes is a death sentence, and a child can die within a year of diagnosis.

Let me tell you a story about how it feels when I don't get insulin and my blood sugar goes high. It's hot. It's dry. I'm super, super thirsty. This unquenchable thirst would be bad enough on its own, but every time I take a drink I become more nauseated. So, there's general discomfort, tiredness, thirst, and nausea. Oh, yeah. There's also the peeing. Lots and lots of peeing. I'm sorry, but there really is no describing the total discomfort that comes along with high blood sugar if you've never experienced it. It's terrible, and this is how I feel after a few hours without insulin. I cannot fathom how it feels to exist like this for an entire year, not knowing if it will end.

So if you're looking for a way into your sweetie's heart, consider sparing a rose to save a child.