Browsing Category

Diabetes

Diabetes

Fuck Being “Polite”

Once, before I had an insulin pump so I must have been about 13 or 14 years old, I was eating at a diner with my dad, brother, and sister. My brother and I both live with Type-1 Diabetes, so we tested our blood sugars together. However, he was on an insulin pump at the time and I was not yet, so I had to draw up insulin into a syringe from a vial (this was pre-pens, too!) and I did so right at the table.

While I was flicking the syringe to get rid of the air bubbles I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a little kid pointing at me. He asked his parent: “What is she doing?” I was done extricating the air bubbles at this point and made no hesitation in proceeding to take my injection in my arm, leaning against the table to pinch up the skin. I saw the child’s parent watching me with this look of horror on her face.

She quickly turned to her child and said in a hushed, but not enough to prevent me from hearing her, tone: “You see what she did just there? I never want you to do that.” Clearly, she assumed I was doing recreational drugs or something equally egregious. It kind of boggles my mind, thinking about it today. I was clearly a young teenager, sitting with my own parent and younger siblings, what in the world possessed her to think I would be doing such a thing not just openly in a public space, but under the watchful eye of my father? Really‽

I wish I had had the guts, at that age, to turn around and correct her. But I didn’t—instead, I was extremely embarrassed. I remember always being embarrassed of having to do things in public, whether it was testing my blood sugar or taking shots. Having my brother along made it easier, because I was used to him doing it (he’s lived with this disease much longer than I have) but it didn’t make the staring or the insensitive comments more bearable. I remember getting mad at my dad, once, in a restaurant for telling the waitress to double-check that our soda was diet because his kids were diabetic. I remember such comments eliciting strange looks, judgmental glares, raised eyebrows. It got bad enough that I would go to the bathroom to take my shots, or—even scarier—not take them at all.

Last week, after a meeting with my Diabetes Educator, we decided to put me back on MDIs for the next month since my insulin pump has been malfunctioning. I felt the same feelings of shame creeping back in, and even avoided taking a shot in public at a late lunch with my boyfriend last weekend.

In an ideal world, no person living with Diabetes should have to feel this way, ever. Which is why I’m extremely perturbed by the Miss Manners post in which the advice columnist tells the PWD writing to her that he should absolutely go to the restroom to perform the simple blood glucose checks and insulin injections that are medically necessary for him to do, and often need to be done right away, so as not to “disturb” the people around him. Is this really what she considers to be polite?

Whether it be on a plane, bus, train, or at a restaurant—I’m past the point of being “polite” and excusing myself to hide from the world the fact that I have to do these things in order to stay healthy. It’s shameful, it’s not fair to me or anyone else and perpetuates the idea that the things I need to do to stay alive are somehow BAD.

No. Fuck that. I won’t have it. Those stigmas against lancets and syringes will never be eradicated if it’s not made to be seen as normal. Going forward, I’m not going to hide from anyone anymore. I took an injection right at my desk at work yesterday. So take that, Miss “Manners.” Deal with it.

Diabetes

Only Immortal for a Limited Time

When we are young
Wandering the face of the earth
Wondering what our dreams might be worth
Learning that we’re only immortal
For a limited time.

-Dreamline by Rush

It was 4 days before my 12th birthday. I had asked for two sandwiches with my lunch instead of one only a week or so prior. I remember coming back from dance class that night and feeling tired. I remember how heavy my body felt as I got out of the car and went to head inside and upstairs to my bedroom. I remember my mom grabbing my arm and guiding me to the kitchen instead.

I remember her telling my brother to get his meter.

The realization of what she wanted to do hit me like a freight train. “No… No!” I struggled but she managed to check my blood glucose. The numbers counted down… I was over 300 mg/dL. I started crying.

In the car ride to the hospital, my mother tried to reassure me that everything would be okay. I stared out the window, my arms crossed, thinking. Thinking that my body is broken. Thinking that I will die young. Thinking that Diabetes will kill me.

I felt my mortality that day. I’ve lived every day feeling it since. It certainly gives you perspective.

This year marks 14 years with Type-1 Diabetes for me. I’ve struggled a lot with this disease. There have been highs and lows, both literally and figuratively. I’ve dealt with a lot. The struggle has made me stronger, wiser, and more understanding. I’m proud of who I am and how I have been shaped.

World Diabetes Day

Diabetes

CGM’ing

You may or may not have heard via Twitter, but my endocrinologist has put me on a CGM for a week (well, 5 days) since my last A1C result was much higher than it should be. We’re trying to figure out why, hence the temporary CGM. I went into the Diabetes Services office last Monday to get it put on, and it was more of an ordeal than I expected it to be.

Firstly, I was nervous. I didn’t know how big the needle would be or where the diabetes educator would recommend putting it. I’ve never worn a CGM before, but I do wear an insulin pump. However, I only put my infusion sets in my legs mostly because I get the heeby-jeebies about putting them anywhere else.

When I got to the office, the diabetes educator, Sylvia, was very nice and had everything set up and waiting for me. She recommended putting it in my stomach or hip, so I opted for my hip and took a deep breath… However, the launcher wasn’t working! Which, of course, made me more nervous. I’ve had issues with my pump’s infusion set launcher before and it’s not a fun thing to deal with. (Basically, it either causes the set to go in too slow, so it hurts more, or not all the way in so you accidentally pull it back out and have to start all over again.) After a few attempts with the launcher not working, she decided to try a new launcher… which then worked. Damn things.

It hurt a bit, I’m not going to lie. That coupled with my mounting nerves due to the launcher issue caused me to feel quite light-headed, so I had to lie down after the CGM was in and she was calibrating my meter with it. I thought I was going to pass out, so she brought me a cold towel, a glass of cold water, and pointed a small table fan at me. If there’s a good place to feel like your going to faint, it’s a doctor’s office. I felt much better after about 10-15 minutes and was on my way home shortly after that.

I’ve worn the CGM for ~4 days now, and I go in tomorrow to take it off. So far, it’s been really uncomfortable. I have no idea if it’d be better or worse if I had chosen my stomach for the site instead, but in it’s current placement on my right hip it’s very itchy and I’m constantly afraid of pulling it out. Additionally, I once accidentally rolled over on it in my sleep and woke up abruptly because it felt like someone had stabbed me. :/ So I’ve been taking great pains not to hit it with things like my purse or backpack or the back of my chair at work. I think this has caused the extra pain/pressure on my lower back, which has been killing me all week. I’m probably standing funny or walking/sitting weirdly. My mom thinks they might have put too much tape on it, which causes more pulling at the set as I move. Augh!

In any case, I’m glad that I was able to do this and I hope the results will be helpful in adjusting my doses and achieving a more normal A1C. *crosses fingers*

Diabetes

Finding an Endo

Finding a new Endocrinologist for my Diabetes care is actually much harder than one would think. I should have done this months ago, obviously, but due to my excessive laziness and hatred of switching doctors I avoided it. Now I’m down to a bottle of insulin, so it was crucial that I get an appointment ASAP. Why that’s so difficult, I’m not sure why. So, I printed out an excessive list of doctors and phone numbers from my health insurance provider’s website and got to calling.

It didn’t go very well, sadly. Originally I wanted a female doctor because I feel more comfortable with them (don’t ask me why). But all the female doctors on my list didn’t have available appointments till May at the earliest, and the one I specifically wanted to visit didn’t have any until June. So, obviously, that wasn’t going to work. Plus the fact that the group requires a referral, so if I wanted to make an appointment there I’d have to get one first. Annoying. (So later I will have to find a Primary Care Physician to refer me there.)

Anyway, I did end up getting an appointment for the 23rd, which is in ~2 weeks. (A bottle of insulin lasts me about a month so I should be good until then.) The doctor is male, but I can’t really be choosy at the moment. If I end up liking him, I’ll stick with him. If not, I can go doctor-shopping again in the future. At least I can rest easy knowing I won’t run out of my insulin before the appointment.

Diabetes

Stubborn High

Last night, despite changing my pump set in the morning, my blood sugar sky rocketed to over 500 mg/dL. I felt horrid, so I took a ton of insulin and laid down in bed. My boyfriend helped wake me up at periodic times during the night to recheck my glucose and take more insulin, but the insulin seems to not be doing very much. I woke up in the 300s, which was obviously better than 500+ but also not very ideal. So I took more insulin. I went to work, I bolused for a bagel for breakfast. I checked again at lunch, now in the 400s. Probably shouldn’t have eaten that bagel, but oh well. So I took more insulin (including what I needed to cover what I was eating).

It’s now almost 4 pm and I’m still in the 400s. My blood sugar seems to have not budged AT ALL. It’s very frustrating, as I’ve been at work with a headache and slightly blurry vision. (It’s been really hard to concentrate on the computer screen for long periods of time. Thankfully I didn’t have much work to worry about today.) So I decided I should just take a shot and did. I took 5 units via injection in my arm and did a normal correction via my pump. We’ll see how this works, I hope it does it’s job and gets me back to normal. I haaaaate feeling like this and especially when no matter what I try nothing changes.

Maybe it’s finally time for me to rotate my pump sets to another area, I fear (based on today) that I’m actually starting to have absorption problems in my legs (where I always put my sets). Thing is I’m not really comfortable putting the sets anywhere else. :/

Anyone have any ideas for me?