Friday, October 3, 2014

Crime: Type 1 diabetes

I started chatting with a new diabuddy on Facebook last night who was telling me all about Dr. Denise Faustman's BCG Tuberculosis vaccine to cure diabetes.

I had heard of it before, but my reaction was always the same... sounds awesome but let it be a real cure where I can go in there take a shot and pack up Dexie, Rosie, my bg meter, along with all other D related supplies and say... "I used to have diabetes"

This time I was really excited.  I understood, from our convo not from any research I had done personally, that if this worked for a few years we would have a cure by 2022. I was elated! I would be cured by 2022? OMG sign me up!

But then I read up on it and there seems to be no proof that the participants from phase I were taken off insulin. Phase II will end in 2022, and we won't know if it's working until then. I'm not willing to hype myself up for 8 years just to be told... "my bad, you got the placebo," or "sorry, the results are inconclusive,  we need another 5 years" blah blah... you get what I mean.

My attitude after reading up on this research was "oh well, I've been doing this for 19 years, I can do it for the rest of my life. Just Live Long & Bolus!"

But when I woke up this morning with a low at 5:58am I felt like a train wreck. ... I haven't felt this disappointed about D since the first couple of years after diagnosis. It was like..... I got pranked, the cure isn't that close. Big pharma will probably never let it happen anyway. 

I wish I could curl up into a ball in bed and just mourn this all day. I'm entitled to it. We all are. Diabetes is hard, even though I try to make it seem easy for those around me... oh well, gotta get up because real life stuff awaits.

Here's my diabetes sentence (this is from the Free Diabetics Movement on Facebook,  they post mugshots with their sentence. Check them out!)

Crime: Type 1 Diabetes
Sentence: Life
Bail: A cure
Time Served: 19 years 10 months

Friday, January 17, 2014

She has sugar...

It was just another day at the office... Work, check blood sugar. Work some more, light up Dexie's screen to make sure all is good on the 'betes front. You all know the drill.

Then I discover treats!! Homemade Rice Krispy Treats, and I'm a sucker for Rice Krispy treats. I eat a couple.... and forget to bolus. No big deal. It happens to the best of us. We just take a correction bolus and life goes on, blood sugar goes down, blah blah blah...

This was toward the end of the day,  and when my blood sugar is high, I just can't eat.  Not because it's high, but because I'm just not hungry.

As I continue about my day, the lady who made the Rice Krispy Treats started passing the last few remaining in her tupperware. I politely declined. She tried pushing it, and I again said no.

Just then a co-worker decides to speak for me... "no, she doesn't want any... she has sugar." The Rice Krispy Treats lady's eyes widen, and she says, "oh no! Then no more for you," and walks away. I just smile while clenching my jaw.

My parents taught me to respect others, especially people older than me. And since I'm fairly new at the job, I decided to keep my mouth shut. But my blood was boiling; I wanted to tell this co-worker off!

First of all, what the *bleep* does having sugar mean?

Second of all, this is NOT the first time this person tries to be a diabetes police officer to me. Who the *bleep* gave her a carb counting, blood sugar monitoring bagde?

Third of all, I'm old enough to speak for myself. I say yes when I want to and no when I don't.  It's as simple as that.

Fourth of all, I have been living with diabetes for 2/3 of my life. I am alive. I am healthy. I have no complications. I have a decent A1C, and pretty good control of my diabetes. There is no "type zero" on this planet who can tell me what I can or cannot eat.

I understand that in her way she is just trying to watch out for me. But at the end of the day, this is my disease. I will do with it as I see fit. I know what I can or cannot do.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Reasons why I love diabetes - umm no, not really

So I started this blog post on July 9th, but completely forgot about it. Today I just wanted to go off about diabetes, among other things, and as I read this draft, I felt like it was perfect. I will stop at diabetes though...

25 Reasons why I love diabetes: Ha! No, I do not love diabetes.

1. I hate being attached at the hip to a machine--literally.

2. I hate having to carry all these supplies everywhere I go. I cannot just grab my keys, credit cards, driver's license, put all that in my pocket and go.

3. I hate the smell of insulin.

4. I hate the infusion site on my body.

5. I hate my freckled fingertips. By the way, freckled is just a nice way of saying "calloused" and "fugly."

6. I hate having to check my blood sugar every time I eat, or have a drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).

7. I hate feeling panicky when I feel my blood sugar is dropping.

8. I hate feeling helpless when my blood sugar is low.

9. I hate having to eat, or drink juice, to treat a low when I'm not hungry.

10. I hate the weird smell only I can smell when my blood sugar is high.

11. I hate the aches in my body when my blood sugar is high.

12. I hate being cranky when my blood sugar is low or high.

13. I hate feeling so dependent.

14. I hate it when diabetes makes me feel different or when non-diabetics make me feel different.

15. I hate it that I can't look at a meal when eating out and say, "this looks delicious." My first thought is, "how much insulin should I take for this?"

16. I hate having to think of everything I eat in numbers.
Scrambled eggs-0g Carbs
White Rice-45g Carbs (1 cup)

17. I hate it when diabetes interrupts my sleep.

18. I hate going extremely long periods of time without eating because of a stubborn high that just refuses to come down.

19. I hate the itch on my DexCom site that I can never get to until I take the sensor off.

20. I hate that I'm terrified of amputations - any cut or scrape on my feet or legs gives me an anxiety attack.

21. I hate it when people say, "somebody I used to know died of diabetes." It makes me want to tell them, "thanks a lot, I'll have nightmares about a long, painful death tonight."

22. I hate it when I feel judged about my blood sugar. "Oh it's not my fault you can't control your blood sugar...." Umm excuse me???? People like this should try walking in my shoes for a day.

23. I hate feeling the need for support. (Thank you diabetes online community - you guys are the very best. And my family, I would never have made it without you.)

24. I hate having to wear a dog collar. (It's a medical ID bracelet, but I feel like I'm wearing a dog collar.)

25. I hate it that diabetes is a full time job - that I have to pay for!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bitching About the D

Well, hello there! It's been a long while since I've blogged... yes I'm sorry, I'm a bad, bad blogger! But hey, my blog got 549 views anyway!! Woohoo!

Truth be told, I was feeling extremely overwhelmed with diabetes! I had been working so hard to bring down my blood sugar levels, to be a "good" person with diabetes, but, as all people with diabetes know, there is no such thing...

Towards the middle/end of February everything was shot to hell and I started struggling with my blood sugar. I haven't had many lows, though I'm not sure if it's due to the constant highs, or if it's due to Dexie, my DexCom Platinum G4, but I've been having tons of highs. I didn't want to start a "bitching about diabetes" blogging spree. This blog is called "Positively Diabetes" after all, but the past month and a half has been taking its toll on my positive attitude. Sometimes I wonder if getting Dexie was a good idea.

Before I got Dexie, I tested my blood sugar when I woke up, before and after exercising, before meals, 2.5-3 hrs after meals, before bed, when I felt low, high or like my bg was dropping. I was actually doing well! I brought  my hbA1C down from >10 to 7.7 in 3 months. I was on a roll. My endocrinologist recommended getting a continuous glucose monitor, and I wanted one anyway. Thus, I got Dexie; but at what emotional cost???

I freak when I see my bg above 180 for longer than 1 hour, though I try not to, and I think those freak outs have been bringing my bg even higher. Dexie is a blessing in helping me avoid lows, but it seems like a curse to look at after I eat, when I'm stressed out, or when diabetes wants to simply be a diabitch. Just as I was writing the last sentence Dexie beeped to let me know my bg is rising. I woke up low, treated, had breakfast, exercised, ate a snack, bolused, but still my blood sugar rises.

Did I say I didn't want this to be a "bitch about diabetes" blog? Screw it, I'm getting so frustrated. When will this end? In two weeks I go for my blood work for my A1C, and I wonder what the hell is going to happen when I go to my endocrinologist in May.

I had no idea this blog post would become a "bitch about diabetes" post, but I'm glad it did. I needed to vent, even though I didn't know it at the time I started writing. I know we've all been there, and I know none of us like it. I talk to PWD (people/person with diabetes) every day, it's what keeps me sane in this annoyingly crazy world of living with a chronic illness. I'm no hypochondriac, nor do I consider myself "sick." I live life as any type zero (a person who does not have diabetes), the only difference is my days are always focused around freaking numbers... and boy do I hate math! But I'm a person living with diabetes, and I guess if I didn't have diabetes I wouldn't be who I am today. 

Woosah! I think I feel better now!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Diabetically Un-educated

Recently I've been wondering if I need to go see a diabetes educator, but then I think to myself, "what can they teach me? I live with diabetes everyday, and unless I find one who has it, too, then I probably don't need one."

Well, today  I did learn something new from a type zero (a person who doesn't have diabetes), and I found myself thinking over and over, "Gosh, I do need to speak to a diabetes educator, after all." The woman works for a major medical company who makes insulin pumps, so she is pretty knowledgeable about them.

I thought I was pretty knowledgeable when it came to the 'betes and being a pump user. Well, I got news for myself: I have tons to learn still. After being on the pump for 10 years (yes, you read this right, I did say 10 years and I'm still learning), I just learned the difference between a dual (or wave??) bolus and a square bolus. Knowing the difference will really, really impact my blood glucose when I go to parties where I eat here and there, as opposed to sitting down for a meal.

During dinner on Christmas day, I had no idea how many cabs I had eaten or would continue to eat. It wasn't a sit down and eat kind of dinner. It was relaxed, everyone grab their plates and eat what and when they wanted. Snacks were everywhere. So, I just kept eating and figured I'd correct later. Can anyone guess my bg after all was said and done? Ya, umm, it was in the 400s. Thus, if I had known what a square bolus was and how to use it, I would have given myself between 3-5 units of insulin, throughout a 3-4 hour period. (I could have used a dual wave combo bolus, but I am re-learning everything regarding pump and diabetes, after I opened up my eyes and realized I was most likely on a downward spiral towards complication after complication by ignoring my diabetes).

So, what is a dual/wave/combo bolus? You split the amount of insulin you want to take for a meal. A couple of weeks ago, I ate Chinese for dinner (now that isn't, nor will it continue to be, a frequent thing and I'll explain why another day). If I remember correctly I ate about 74g of carbs. Due to newly learned information, I knew that Chinese food was full of fat and that would slow down my digestion/absorption of carbohydrates. So I split the total amount of insulin I would be taking. The pump calculated the total of insulin I needed to take: 74/15=4.95 units. I decided to experiment with the combo bolus. I chose to give myself 30% before I ate and 70% in the space of 3 hours (as a result of slower digestion due to fat in the food). Therefore, I took 1.48 units immediately and the pump gave me the rest, 3.47, little bits at a time. It did work out well. I didn't measure my blood sugar before bed because I went to sleep less than 2 hours after dinner, but my blood sugar was 123 (or something in that range) the next day.

Combo Bolus

The square bolus is slightly different. Say I'm about to eat a bowl of cereal (I hate milk, therefore I don't really eat cereal, but this one is hypothetical), but I'm also doing a million and one other things at the same time. Maybe my 5 year old nephew is visiting and keeps asking me to play with him as I eat my cereal. I can set my bolus to dispense insulin slowly throughout 30 minutes, as opposed to taking all the units I need before I eat, which could result in a low blood sugar later.

Square Bolus

Now that I know exactly what these two types of bolusing do for me, I will be sure to use it more in the future (I have never done a square bolus, ever "/).

You live and you learn, and I will call up the diabetes educator that my endocrinologist recommended to me  first thing tomorrow. I thank the Guy up there for looking out for me while I was being negligent with my 'betes. Every night before bed I thank Him for giving me another day on this Earth, especially another day with no complications. I am slowly changing my diet and trying to learn all I can to control the 'betes, not let it control me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hypo Anxiety

I've been feeling a little anxious for the past week, since my family is leaving for Brazil in 2 days and I'll be alone for a couple of weeks. This type of fear of going hypo unaware and my blood sugar dropping to unconscious levels is the reason I've never considered moving out.
This has happened before. When I was 12, I went to school and ended up not eating lunch. I don't remember the reason I didn't eat lunch, but not eating lunch, plus taking the unreliable long lasting insulin NPH dropped my blood sugar. I know I didn't feel my blood sugar dropping. I remember everything looking hazy and strange, but I didn't think much of it. I usually walked home from school, but that day my mom came home from work early and picked me up. When I got home, I said hi to my neighbor and went inside the house. My dad was home because he had broken his ankle, so I remember saying hi to him and my younger sister. After that, my only memory is of waking up in the hospital and asking my mom where I was and what had happened. My blood sugar  had dropped to 27. She said I was acting as if I were high off drugs. She said she asked me for my glucometer (my blood sugar meter) many times and that I ran around the house, gave her crazy things, like a can of coke, and laughed hysterically at nothing.
From the time I was 17 my family has gone on vacation and I've been home alone more times than I can count, but the problem now is that I've been getting many hypos due to better care of my diabetes (I think that hypo event is one of the reasons I started neglecting my diabetes) and still working to re-adjust my basal rates. I called Dexcom yesterday for a CGM (continuous glucose monitor), thanks to my friend @RichTheDiabetic, who told me I don't need to wait for my endo visit on Jan 25 to contact them. Due to this lack of knowledge, I waited too long to call Dexcom. Had I know this beforehand, I would have called them on the 15th, when my insurance went into effect.
I have people I can stay with, though. My sister lives 25 minutes away (and she cooks very well, while I don't cook at all). The thing is that all my students live within 5-15 minutes from my house, so I would be doing a great deal of traveling if I were to stay with them.
So, for the meantime, I will consider my options carefully. I have an endo appointment on Friday, right before my parents leave, and will discuss this with him.
As for today, I am super excited to attend my very first JDRF meeting for adults and meeting some of my diabetic Twitter friends in person!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Finger, Y U No Bleed!!?

Today wasn't one of my best days mood-wise. I was up and down all day (mood, not blood sugar, thank God), with more downs than ups. Then I went on Twitter for a few minutes before one of my students arrived at the library and #bgbingo was on. For those of you who have never heard of #bgbingo (I just learned about it myself not too long ago), it's well, a bingo of sorts. During the weekly Wednesday night Twitter chat by #gbdoc, they call out a blood glucose number. The person who has the closest blood glucose number at the time wins a prize. The number called today around 5pm EST was 6.2 mmo/l - 112 mg/dl.

Well, I had just checked my blood sugar and it was 114 mg/dl - 6.4 mmo/l. I treated a low without going hyper (yay for me, I don't nail those very often!).  So, I tweeted my blood sugar reading and patiently waited to see if someone was closer. Someone could have possibly been 6.2 mmo/l - 112 mg/dl, 6.1 mmo/l - 111 mg/dl, or 6.3 mmo/l - 113 mg/dl. Coincidentally, my student at the time is an 8 year old boy who is very dear to me because I've known him since he was about 1 year old and his mom is one of my closest friends, and he was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes December 2011.

Then I checked Twitter again, and guess what? I WON!! I won a Verio IQ by OneTouch. Brand New!! I was so excited, and still am. Earlier today I was looking into the Verio IQ on YouTube and it looks so nice and smart! I wanted it. And, well, I won it. That really made my day!! That and my mom educating her friend on diabetes :) . My student and his mom were very excited for me.
The GBdoc Verio IQ is set to mmo/l blood sugar readings, and since I am in the US, I use mg/dl. I really hope they can find one set to mg/dl to send to me. This was the highlight of my day :) .

Now, as for the title of my post. We all have those darned days when our fingertips refuse to bleed. You prick your finger with that little needle and nothing comes out. You've become a vampire, totally bloodless. Yep, I hate those days.

I was talking with my adopted Twitter brother about AST, Alternate Site Testing. I like using my palm. I alternate fingers and palm every day. One finger a day, or palm, to give the rest of the fingertips a rest. My Twitter brother however, could not draw blood from his palm, so he ordered an AST cap. I personally never needed those, I usually throw them out, but other people swear by them. So he tested it and still could not get any blood. Then, he read the instructions and it said to leave the pricker on palm, which he said he thought would help draw blood. And it worked for him! He got a few blood sugar checks out of his palm. Hurrah for AST.

This morning I decided to try something new with my pricker. I set it to a lower depth and pricked my finger. I left the pricker there for a few seconds, rather than prick and remove it immediately, and when I removed it there was a tiny drop of blood already. I didn't have to squeeze hard to get a sample either. It was awesome, painless, and today's finger seems much better than yesterday's or Monday's. I'm guessing that this is the proper way to check your blood sugar. Leave the pricker on site for a few seconds, then remove. Makes for much easier blood drawing, trust me...

I told my t1d student and his mom this discovery and they tried it out right there. Unbeknownst to my student, she set his pricker to a lower depth and he held his pricker there for a few seconds. He got a nice big sample out of that finger prick. His mom and I were elated that it worked.

So, point of this long blog: next time you can't draw any blood, try holding your pricker in place for a few seconds. That may help.

PS: I know that it is not called a "pricker," that it's a Lancing Device, but Lancing Device is just so boring...