what brings me down – #DBlogWeek Day 3

May 14, 2014
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May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you, and how do you cope? (Thanks go out to Scott of Strangely Diabetic for coordinating this topic.)

After Diabetes Blog Week 2013, I drifted off and didn’t feel like blogging for a while. A few weeks became a month, and then three…then six…and…here we are, a full year later. But what I didn’t want to acknowledge was that something else was going on as well. Quite a few things, actually, and most of them either were directly related to diabetes, or indirectly impacted my diabetes the way every. freaking. living. thing. impacts my diabetes in SOME way, because it does.

What was that something else, that made/makes dealing with diabetes an emotional issue? Let’s see…

The best medical care I’ve ever gotten for my diabetes was in the “Sweet Success” program for pregnant women with diabetes, and a few women with type 1 in the preconception stage (like me). I’ve been seriously grieving the loss of that expert, kind, diabetes medical attention ever since I had to stop going to the program because I…

Couldn’t get pregnant, and realized that I’m not ever going to be able to get pregnant, and surprisingly enough, I couldn’t blame diabetes for that one – that I’m aware of, anyway. Nope. I did everything diabetes-related preconception-wise perfectly. But my body decided to play yet another cruel trick on me. No babies for this body.

It made – and still makes – me so incredibly sad. I was ready. I was going to do anything I had to do, to take care of my diabetes and my body and me, in order to safely and healthily carry and birth a baby. Success story? Well, as much as anything could be under my control, and plenty of it wasn’t, but the rest of it? The diabetes preparation? I was ON it. That’s all it was supposed to take, right? Right? I was supposed to want it bad enough that I’d take good care of my diabetes, and THAT would make the difference – that was what everyone (books, blogs, doctors, random others) said!
 
So I did. I cared and paid attention to my diabetes like I had never done before. I whipped that fucking blood sugar into shape – 5.8 HbA1c? 6.0? 5.9? DONE. Weight? Lost it – 20 pounds of it. Everything else they threw at me, I handled. Except it didn’t matter.

So much of this diabetes life is straddling the insanely fine line between THIS IS ALL MY PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND IF I JUST BALANCE IT A LITTLE BETTER AND IMPROVE MY SKILLS AND LISTEN TO THE DR. AND COUNT THOSE CARBS AND START EXERCISING AND TESTING MORE AND…AND…IT’S ALL UP TO ME, TO DO IT RIGHT AND MAKE SURE NOTHING BAD HAPPENS.

and on the other, completely opposite hand:

NONE OF THIS FREAKING MATTERS AND NO MATTER WHAT I DO, IT’S ALL A CRAPSHOOT. RUN THOSE NUMBERS ONE MORE TIME AND SEE THAT EVEN IF I AM PERFECT, ANY OF THE AWFUL THINGS ON THAT LIST OF COMPLICATIONS OVER THERE COULD STILL HAPPEN. MAYBE THEY’RE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. WHO THE HELL KNOWS? NOT EVEN THE FREAKING DOCTOR.
 
I’ve hit the point in my diabetes journey where I’m honestly terrified that complications will set in tomorrow. And also incredibly guilty, because I haven’t experienced many of a very severe level…YET…It’ll be 34 years on June 13, and I *should* be grateful and happy and accept how lucky I am.
 
But I don’t trust that I’ll be one of the so-called “lucky” ones who hit 50+ years without diabetes complications.

There’s the big bad, right there. I don’t trust diabetes not to whack me, or my loved ones, upside the head. I don’t trust that bad crap isn’t going to happen due to this crappy disease. Diabetes, and then infertility/endometriosis, really drained my trust away.
 
Fear. Anxiety. Grief. Pain. Worry.
 
Whether associated with big-picture diabetes life, or the day-to-day chronic diabetes disease management life…they’re there.
 
(Don’t worry – tomorrow’s post will be brighter, and I’ll remember to talk about the coping then too. Thanks for letting me release all this and just GO this far down – it’s a little scary, but I needed to saywrite it.) xoxo
 

Here are lots of other posts from #DBlogWeek What Brings Me Down – Wednesday 5/14!

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went for a walk today

May 4, 2012

I went for a walk today. By myself, with my iPod. That shouldn’t be a big deal, except it sort of was.

Background: About a year ago, I had to get some serious dental cleanings–underneath my gums, with laser treatments, because the gums had just begun to recede a little and possibility for infection was high. I have never had any cavities, and have always brushed and flossed, so I was surprised and not thrilled about my gums getting all sensitive (moody gums! who needs that?). That’s when I first learned about the connections between diabetes, heart disease, and gums. Criminey. Like we need one MORE diabetes-related complication to worry about.

My amazingly awesome dentist (I mean it, he’s wonderful) let me know that I couldn’t have the treatments while I was trying to get pregnant in case the fertility treatments actually worked, and by the way, all the fertility hormones I was taking were likely causing the problems with my gums and making the risk of gum disease even HIGHER. That’s JUST what I wanted to hear. EXCELLENT.

But I could appreciate the idea of not battling the hormone-intensive insulin resistance for 6-8 weeks, the amount of time needed for 4 extensive gum treatments and recovery. So I decided to pair the dental work and break from extra hormones/stress with some extra attention to my BG and taking care of myself, and thought what the hell, let’s throw some exercise in there as well just for fun.

I should explain–exercise has NEVER been fun for me. I have regularly exercised at a few times in my life, and the only time I didn’t absolutely hate it was when it was related to doing something else that I loved: marching band practice in high school, for example, or multi-day DisneyLand vacays, or other walking/touring vacations. I was doing those things because they were activities that I loved, and the exercise just came along with it. I could endure that as long as I had the other, better things to do for me.

Exercise to make my body more fit, healthier and feel better? Hell, no. I’ve also struggled through many a time period trying different exercise programs, plans, classes, videos, whatever, and hating the daylights out of it, and quitting almost immediately. I never enjoyed it. Ever.

So this decision to move my body through space and time with the only intent being “taking care of myself” was a big deal for me. I was prepared to hate it the same way I’d hated it all the times before. But I decided I was just going to try it, with no expectations and no big goals attached to it, other than just getting myself out the door and doing it.

I decided I would make it as easy as possible for myself. I would just walk, in our lovely cute neighborhood, in the morning before A. and Ms. Diva got up. I wouldn’t take either of our big dogs, because they sniff and ponder and pee and meander, and that’s annoying when I just want to move.  (did I just say that?) And I wouldn’t worry about how long or far or fast or anything I was going. I’d just go outside and start.

I loved it. LOVED it. That’s so cray-cray, I can’t even believe it. Truth.

So, I kept going! I walked about 30-40 mins. every other day, and then every day, and then I started going a little faster. Running? Sure. I was happy, so very happy. The endorphins lasted pretty much all day. I started losing weight. My insulin requirements kept going down, down, down. I was drinking apple juice for lows several times a day. Insulin resistance? Pretty much gone. I went through nearly 3 months like this, and was a changed woman.

Then sometime in mid-June, I woke up, put my feet on the floor and felt like someone was poking sharp knives up through my heel. Damn it. Hello, plantar fasciitis. Really? REALLY?!?

Hello, primary care doc. Hello, podiatrist. Hello, online searches for self-care. Hello, physical therapy and ice packs and stretching and new shoes and new socks and sleep splints and…and…for 6 months. Meh.

No more walks. I switched to a gym, rode exercise bikes, turned my iPod up really loud to drown out my pissiness at my right foot for hurting so much. Then I got bored with the gym, and the winter darkness and rain began, and life got back in the way and work got intense and so…the exercise stopped.

I walked for things I had to do, with Ms. Diva, with the family/dogs, to run errands, for events, etc. We went to Disneyland in the fall, and my foot made it through that okay. By this spring, it stopped feeling like it had shards of glass all up in it, and just ached sometimes. But I wasn’t walking for me anymore.

Lately, I’ve had enough of that. I’m not doing fertility treatments, it’s spring, the sun is out, the weather is gorgeous, and it’s time. I need this. I need to think again about taking care of me. Just for me.

So I went for a walk today. No running (although that would be my dream again someday), no expectations, just walked. Lady Gaga, Depeche Mode, U2, Joan Jett, and me. It ROCKED.

 


croup trumps pinboard #hawmc day 16

April 16, 2012

I was going to use one of the 2 “free passes” for Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge today. I wasn’t really feeling the Pinterest pinboard, so I left it to do today instead of getting it finished prior to the prompt day. Then some unexpected events caused me and my partner, A, to be up for several hours in the middle of the night. We spent from 12-2:30am at the ER with our daughter, Ms. Diva, and then spent today at an appt. with Ms. Diva’s pediatrician, at the pharmacy (twice) for her new meds, and at home with her resting. I’m exhausted, and so is A. Per usual for parents, we seem much more worn and strung out after last night’s escapades than Ms. Diva herself. She’s sick, but is already much much better and looks much better as well.

She had a little stuffy nose for about a week, and seemed a little tired a few days, but nothing remarkably horrible. Last night, she seemed a little more congested in the nose and sinus parts of her head, and we gave her a dose of children’s cold medicine before she went to bed. She seemed to go to sleep easy enough. A. and I went to bed around 11pm. At midnight, Ms. Diva woke us up with muted shrieking, silent sobbing, and wild gesturing at her throat. She squeaked out that she couldn’t breathe. Her entire little 6-year-old body was shaking. We got ourselves to the ER immediately.

After some albuterol treatment, prednisone, and benedryl, the iconic croup seal-bark cough emerged. Oh, there it was. Croup! Seriously?! I felt like a complete and total idiot. She’d had croup before, when she was really little, and A and I both had it as kids too, so we know what croup sounds like. But she hadn’t coughed ONCE until about 1/2 way through the first of the two albuterol treatments! The mist loosened the gunk up so that she could cough, and there was no mistaking it. Grrrrr.

In the rush to get out of the house, I left Dex (my continuous glucose monitor) under my pillow, so I had no way of tracking where my BG was throughout this frightening roller-coaster of an episode. Once we got into the ER, the staff assessed and started treating her, and A and I sat down next to her, I thought about testing my BG. 47 mg/dl. Abso-freaking-lutely AMAZING. I started pounding the gross glucose tabs I keep in my purse for when no other sugar sources are available. Yick.

I have no idea why the BG decided to do that last night. At 11pm I went to bed at 114mg/dl, and had reduced my overnight basal rate the night before. By 12:30am, it was 47. And serious stress, from other types of situations, generally sends my BG skyrocketing through the roof–like 100+ points. WTF???

It sucks so much to have to even bother with testing my blood and addressing whatever issues it’s having, when our daughter can’t breathe and is sick and needs help. I hate it. I hate that it happened, and I hate that I have to even think about it. But I sucked it up, ate the stupid glucose tabs, comforted and loved my girl, and tried to be good support for A, too. It turned out okay.

Ms. Diva’s sleeping and breathing well tonight, and I hope her mamas will be able to sleep too (!!!). See you tomorrow for #hawmc day 17.

 


d-superpower (#HAWMC day 3)

April 3, 2012

If I had a superpower, it would be knowing which factor(s) played the most prominent role in whatever random, crazy-ass blood sugar (RCA BG) is showing up on my meter at that point in time. Hell, I’d like to be able to tell which factors were responsible for ANY type 1’s RCA BG! Wouldn’t that be so awesome? No more guessing! No more frustration!

Because, on any given day, some RCA BG shows up (let’s be real, sometimes there are more than one per day) and then I get to play the type 1 “Many Questions Game” to try and figure out what happened, and what to do next. Between equipment malfunctions, type 1 malfunctions, and regular life malfunctions, the number of factors playing a role is huge. Here’s a sample of an RCA BG situation of mine:

3pm. Meter says: 269 mg/dl. Dexcom says: 250 with 1 arrow going straight up ^, meaning the trend is that it’s rising at 2 mg/dl per minute. And the questions start piling up in my brain:

  • Did I eat lunch?
  • What time did I eat lunch?
  • How many carbs were in my lunch?
  • Did I bolus for the carbs in my lunch?
  • Did I SWAG (scientific wild-assed guess) the carbs in my lunch?
  • Did I correct for whatever BG was before lunch?
  • Do I have any IOB (insulin on board) now?
  • Is my pump tubing blocked?
  • Is my pump infusion site bloody, blocked or otherwise malfunctioning?
  • Did my pump site get disconnected?
  • Is my pump site getting too old?
  • Did I refill my pump with insulin this morning?
  • Did I use a new insulin infusion set?
  • Is my pump site in scar tissue?
  • Is my insulin at the end of the bottle, when it can get suspicious for some odd reason?
  • Was I low this morning and turned my basal rate down or off for a while, which F’s up the hours afterward?
  • Was I low this morning and turned my basal rate off, and did I forgot to turn it back on?
  • Did I forget to check earlier this morning for the stupid dawn phenomenon, and correct if it was high?
  • Did my dawn phenomenon go even higher than it usually does this morning?
  • How much caffeine have I had today? Have I had more caffeine than usual?
  • Have I exercised in the last 4 hours? 8 hours? 12 hours? 24 hours?
  • If I did exercise, what kind of exercise was it? aerobic or anaerobic? For how long?
  • Have I gotten up from my desk in the last several hours?
  • Did I eat something in the office kitchen when I was passing through earlier?
  • Did I bolus for whatever I ate, if I ate something?
  • Did I test before I ate, if I bolused?
  • What day of my cycle is it? One of the days each month when I need to crank the temp basal up? (Hello, PMS/insulin resistance!!)
  • Am I stressed–about work, about life, about anything specific? More stressed than usual?
  • Stressed about anything other than this high BG?!?!
  • If I am stressed, what amount of stress am I having and what’s my stress correction factor? How many insulin units per how much stress? HOW does one measure amounts of stress to allocate units of insulin for it?!?!

I got exhausted just typing these questions, nearly as badly as if I were dealing with them right now. With my superpower, I’d know both WHY the RCA BG was whatever # it was, and I’d know WHAT TO DO to fix it immediately and so it didn’t happen again. What a relief that would be.

No. More. Random. Crazy-Ass. Blood. Glucose!

For the wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge (#HAWMC) prompt for Day 3: Superpower Day. If you had a superpower – what would it be? How would you use it?


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