Friday, May 20, 2016

Dblog Week Day 5: Let's Get Physical Wild Card

A diabetic walks into a CrossFit gym, and...

It sounds like a punchline waiting to happen, but it also sounds like a regular Thursday night for me. For Christmas my parents got me personal training sessions, and I've been going pretty regularly since then. I'm still the flubbiest person in the gym, but it's important to try. In order to try, I've got to make sure my diabetes has itself in line.

I have to make sure my blood sugar is between 100-250. Any higher and I feel like crap. Any lower and I spend my workout time paranoid about going low. If I'm under 100, I pop a tab or two and trust that things will be fine. If I'm over 250, well, I might not go. This has only happened once. I keep an eye on my blood sugar during the day and aggressively correct my highs. It's always easier for me to eat something than to wait for insulin to work.

During my workouts I mostly put diabetes out of my mind. There is a shelf inside the door at the gym where I leave my stuff, and that stuff always includes my cell phone (serving as my Dex receiver) and a bottle of glucose tabs. My trainer knows I'm diabetic and doesn't say anything if I take a minute to check my Dexcom.

Now the bad part. If I go low during a session, I pop a few glucose tabs and keep going. I very rarely feel my lows, so I can just keep going, keep pushing through it. I know it's not the right thing to do, but I only have 1 training session per week and I don't want to waste 15 minutes waiting to come up. So I don't wait. I might get a little sloppy in my movements, but I rarely have to actually stop.

I'm really bad at the gym. I'm so bad that I don't feel comfortable doing weights without someone to watch over me and make sure I don't hurt myself. So I don't do much at the gym when it's not training day. My favorite type of exercise is no exercise, but the exercise I hate the least is dancing. I dance alone in my bedroom to very loud music.

It's hard to keep myself motivated to move. It's hard to keep myself motivated to do a lot of things. The only thing that keeps me moving is a desire to not look like a marshmallow. What? Have you ever played Wii Fit? If your BMI indicates you're overweight your Mii will look like a marshmallow. Both virtually and in real life, I don't want to be a marshmallow. It's vain, it's shallow, but it's true. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dblog Week Day 4: The Healthcare Experience

I want to start of today's post by saying how much I love my endo's office. By and large, they have their shit together. I know exactly what to expect when I go in and they rarely deviate from the script. I love that. If I get my eye doctor to send over a summary of my last exam, they will have it in their system and my doctor will know how my eyes are doing. Again: I love my endo's office. I do.

This post isn't supposed to be a love letter though. It's supposed to be a summary of things I would like to change about my healthcare experience.

My initial thought is that I wish everyone could just learn the basics about diabetes to avoid pissing me off. I know that this isn't going to happen; it would be unrealistic. If they have to know about diabetes, then they have to know about other conditions, and it snowballs into a huge mental Rolodex that our healthcare providers are expected to know off the top of their heads.

Realistically I would like to see better communication between HCPs. Mostly I want to see my other doctors listen to what my endo says. She's good; she will write notes to other doctors on what to do in terms of my diabetes. She's not telling them how to do their jobs, rather she's telling them how to make their work fit in with what she's already doing for me. They just don't listen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dblog Week Day 3: Language and Diabetes

I'm a person with diabetes, but I'm also a diabetic. I'm a person with depression, but I'm also depressed. I check my blood sugar, but sometimes I test it.

Words matter. What you say to others and how you present your ideas matter. I understand the concept of using person-first language when dealing with the chronically ill; sometimes we just want to be seen as people, not as diseases. I agree with treating people with respect, and for most of the diabetes folks online that means calling them a person with diabetes (PWD) instead of a diabetic. Symbolically they are saying that diabetes doesn't define them; they are more than a diagnosis. I understand the position they are taking, and I will fully support them by calling them by PWD if that is what they want.

I am a diabetic. I am a PWD. In regards to this issue, I don't care what people call me. I respond to diabetic, PWD, hey bitch, and most of what people want to call me. Personally, I have a thick skin and I don't feel more or less defined by diabetes if someone calls me a diabetic.


I do not suffer from diabetes, even when it's making my life super hard. I live with diabetes. I endure diabetes. I battle diabetes. No matter what, I refuse to be known as someone who suffers from diabetes. Diabetic, PWD, whatever, but I am not a diabetes sufferer. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dblog Week Day 2: The Other Half of Diabetes

When you have to endure a mental illness along with diabetes, you spend a lot of time wondering if the two are connected in any way. Obviously there are days where diabetes is just an annoying pain in the ass and affects my outlook, but is this monster of a disease at least part of the reason my brain is broken? There is a huge correlation between having diabetes and having depression. Because my depression has been presenting with suicidal ideation, I have spent more time than I'm comfortable with contemplating whether or not life is worth living with a body that requires not only round-the-clock glucose monitoring, but also 8 pills daily to keep me functional. On my bad days, it's a no, then it becomes a struggle to talk myself down from the proverbial ledge.

Interestingly enough, I still can't decide if my diabetes and mental health are totally linked. Most of the time my diabetes doesn't bother me on a conscious level. Even when I have days where I can't get my blood sugar into target range, I'm mostly able to brush it off. That's the best part of running a Twitter devoted to diabetes jokes: it forces me to look at this disease and everything surrounding it in a totally different light. It really helps my outlook when I feel like crap and try to come up with something silly to say about it.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dblog Week Day 1: Message Monday

Who am I? What the hell am I doing here? Why am I writing this?

I'm here for a myriad of reasons. My online persona started on Twitter where I just wanted to make jokes. Through Twitter and the greater DOC in general, I realized that I have a few opinions and things to share that take more than 140 characters.

When I first started blogging, it was because I was really bad at diabetes. I had just gotten a new endo and I was just starting to take care of myself; my a1c was 8.5, down from 12. I felt like I represented a group that wasn't out there: the imperfect diabetic. Really, there is no "perfect" diabetic, but at the time I felt like I didn't measure up. I was reading posts about people who were dissatisfied with their sub-7.0 a1c when I was struggling to get my 8.5. It felt stifling that nobody recognized what was going on for people like me, so I started blogging. The support I received was overwhelming.

Given my beginnings, I have a hard time maintaining the original message. I was disappointed with my last a1c, which was 6.6. I'm now a part of the mass I never thought I'd belong to.

Now I blog infrequently. I only blog when I have something to say, an opinion to give that might not already be out there. There are tons of great diabetes blogs out there that usually write things a lot better than I ever could. Sometimes when I write here it's because I want to share a message or a thought not only with my diabetes friends, but with my non-D family and friends.

So, dear friends, that is why I'm here.