Thursday, March 20, 2014

...Right in the boob.

I'll stick a needle anywhere once. I'm getting pretty adventurous when it comes to these things. Recently I've stuck my arms consistently and I loved it. Last Sunday, I stuck my boob.
It actually wasn't a huge deal. I have plenty of space on my breasts to place infusion sites. I use the angled sets from Medtronic (Silhouettes). I insert them manually, so I am able to control to speed and angle of insertion. If I'm in new real estate, I can pull out if it doesn't feel right. When I put this one in, I didn't feel a thing. Nope. Not one.

When I was considering this spot, I compiled a few factors that determined exactly where on the breast it was going to go. It had to be somewhere my underwire wouldn't rub it. It had to be somewhere my backpack straps wouldn't interrupt. It had to be somewhere that I could take a non-pornographic photo of, because I share my entire D life with the internet. So, with all of this in mind, I showered and changed my set. After I put it in, I breathed a sigh of relief, and then promptly tweeted about my boob site.

So how was it? Not bad. Like I said, I didn't feel a thing with insertion. As far as absorption, I'd probably rank it with my butt flesh. That being said, I did have a cold this week so I know that messed with my numbers. I'll have to try it again before giving a definitive result on absorption. I didn't feel any of my infusions like I sometimes do with my thighs. It never itched as intensely as my thigh sites, either. It never rubbed on my clothes, and the tubing was always under my shirt, so I didn't catch it on any doorknobs for a few days. That was nice.

*edit* I've tried the boob site a few more times, and every time my absorption was fantastic. It leaves a little dot on my boob for a while, but it's worth it.

On a personal note, I don't think my boyfriend liked my boob site. I told him I'm going to do it again, and he just sighed. "Why there?" Heh.

I'm going to give it another go, on the other boob, before I draw any conclusions. I was not convinced of arm sites until my second try. Who knows, boobs could be my favorite place for sites!

If you're looking for another boob-site blog, C wrote about her experience with using her breasts here

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Update on 2014 D-Goals

In January, I posted my 2014 diabetes goals on this blog. They were few and not too lofty. How am I doing?

Bring A1C below 8. Going in, my A1C was 8.9. It was checked again in February, and now it's at 8.3. That number includes December, the month of Christmas cookies. I believe I am on my way to doing better, but the next A1C is going to include my 2 weeks with a weird pump where my BG was consistently 200+. We'll see.

I'm getting better at counting my carbs, and being honest about them. I'll look things up on my phone when I'm out eating and not sure. The biggest barrier to accurate carb counting was my unwillingness to put large carb amounts into my pump. I'm not sure why. It would send my BG high, but I still just wanted to not have that many carbs in my pump. So in addition to actually eating fewer carbs, I'm more honest about the ones I do eat.

I'm changing my infusion sets more regularly. I used to not change them until my absorption was crap or my set hurt. Now the calendar in my kitchen is full of Lisa Frank stickers. I get a sticker each time I change my set. It helps me remember when I changed my set, and I'm more likely to change it on time. I think I've only gone more than three days once since January. I'm also trying new sites, like my arms. I thought I would hate using my arms, but once I tried it I fell in love. The absorption is awesome, and it leads to discussions about diabetes with strangers. Bonus!

I've been exercising without my pump. It's an adjustment to actually do anything without it. I check my BG after 30 minutes, and if I'm going too low, I pop a glucose tab or two. They're pretty low-calorie and they get the job done. But then I sprained my foot, and everything went to hell.

Still no CGM. I didn't bring it up at my appointment, but I might next time. I don't know why I'm hesitant to ask, but... yeah. I've got nothing. I know I have a long way to go to bring my BG in line, and I think this could help. I'd catch the highs before they're at WTF levels.

So that's where I am in terms of my D-goals. Hopefully I have a better update in a few months! 

Friday, March 7, 2014

I Should've Kicked You With My Sprained Foot.

I hurt my foot. I am, without a doubt, one of the clumsiest people on the planet. I hurt myself without even trying. My foot's been bothering myself for a while now, so I went to my Primary Care doctor. When I got there, I was told that I'd be seeing a different doctor because mine was out today. Okay, fine, whatever.

After a general check of my weight, blood pressure, and pulse rate, the doctor came in to see me. I've never met this guy in my life, so I didn't know what to expect. I looked him up on my phone while I was waiting. He is a certified family practitioner, with a specialty in family medicine. Okay. He examined my foot, said I'd be fine, gave me a prescription anti-inflammatory, and told me to get an Ace bandage. He was scrolling through my file on the computer and getting ready to send the Rx to the pharmacy. Then he brought up my diabetes, and that's where things got ugly.

"Oh, I see you're a type 1 diabetic. How's your diabetes?" he sounded conversational, so I told him I was managing. Usually doctors leave it at that. Nope. "What's your A1C?" Eight-point- "that's not managing! That is terrible! You're on a pump, there is absolutely no reason you should have an A1C above 7. What? Are you not checking your sugars? Not bolusing? Sneaking candy?" That's when I used my stern voice to tell him I test a minimum of 6 times per day, correct when needed, and bolus for everything. "Well obviously something is not right. Do you actually see an endocrinologist?" Yes. Every three months. Given my circumstances, she is okay with my progress, and- "any endocrinologist worth their salt is not going to be happy with an A1C that high. What is your BG when you wake up? When is it the highest?" Around 100, usually mid-afternoon, but I have a non-constant schedule, so finding patterns is difficult. "Well, if you're high in the afternoons you need to increase your basal rate. Your carb ratios should remain constant through the day, but if you're higher after lunch, you need to increase your basal rate." Okay, whatever. At that point, I was over it, flustered, and taken aback. So I just listened to him talk, nodded, and left as soon as I could.

I'm still finding my voice when it comes to standing up for myself. I can defend other people all day, but I'm still working on advocating for myself. I didn't want to keep going with this doctor about diabetes, mostly because he seemed to have an overly simplified view of it. He was of the opinion that diabetes is a static, formulaic disease. Input the right number of insulin, and there is ZERO reason you shouldn't get the right numbers.

If I run into this again, I don't know what I'll do. Has anyone else dealt with this? 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wearing Diabetes on Your Sleeve

Recently I've started wearing my pump sites on my arms to give my abdomen a rest. Also, I fell up the concrete stairs yesterday and my whole tummy is basically a giant bruise. Anyway, having an arm site and wearing short sleeves does lead to a lot of sideways looks, and a couple of comments from people who sit next to me in class.

"What... what is that?" in a hushed voice from the girl in my chemistry class.

"Uh, you've got a... something stuck to your arm. Did you know?" from the girl next to me in my psychology class.

"What the hell did you do to your arm? That looks like it hurt!" from the guy on my other side in psych. This one was my personal favorite.

I take the opportunity to give them a little insight on diabetes. "Oh, it's not a big deal. I have diabetes, and it's for my insulin pump. It's how I get medicine" is usually enough. I try to make them not feel bad or embarrassed for not knowing. So far, so good. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Other D in My Life

Since this blog's inception, I have known that I needed to write this post. I believe that talking about issues (like diabetes) can help spread accurate information and help to reduce stigma. Not only do I struggle with the stigma of being diabetic, but also the stigma of having depression. I also have anxiety, but that can be its own post.

The first reaction to hearing of my depression is usually disbelief. The next reaction is that it's not so bad. Life is great. The conversation usually goes something like this: "No! You don't seem depressed. You just need to cheer up and see the positives in life."

The common assumption seems to be that depression is a personal weakness. I'm not strong enough to deal with the realities of life. Another assumption is that I choose to be depressed. Why I would choose depression is completely beyond me.

I don't seem depressed to outsiders. That's a big problem with these "invisible" diseases. You can't see the pain I'm in because I've left my infusion set in too long, just like you can't see  what's going on inside my head. That doesn't make it any less real to me.

I received my official diagnosis in 2010, and I started medication shortly after. I wish I could say that everything got better and it's all sunshine and rainbows now, but it's not. I started taking medications in 2010, and I haven't stopped. They have been working (mostly). These days, my depression is manageable. I can deal with it, and push through the fog. Sometimes I have to work a little harder to see the sunshine, it's true. The point of medications is not to make me happy; the point is to bring me back to even, so I have the same opportunity to be happy as everyone else.

Does depression affect my diabetes? You bet your behind it does. On the bad days, the days when it's hard to get out of bed, I force myself to do the things I need to do to stay healthy. I know everyone has bad days, so this isn't unique to someone with depression. Some days I need to remind myself to take it one blood test, and one bolus at a time.

In general, my body is extremely sensitive to stress. Having depression/anxiety issues does not help with that. The stress induced by my chemistry lab made my blood sugar rise 200 points during the first two labs, and then I got smart and increased my basal rate during lab. Performances, (watching) sporting events, and the most random sources of stress make my BG soar.

I know there are more people out there like me. I know there are other diabetics, maybe some reading this blog right now, who also have to deal with depression. If you aren't comfortable speaking about your depression, that's fine, not everyone is. I do hope that by putting this out there I can spread a little bit of information, or reduce the fear around the D-word. Maybe I can allow someone out there to know they aren't alone, that they aren't the only one trying to slay more than one dragon.

If you think you have depression, you need to find someone to talk to. The first steps are the hardest, but in the end you'll be thankful you took them.