Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Today I love my D

I have been having a very stressful few weeks at work. It's been busy with extraordinarily complex cases which have involved a lot of brain and management power.

Anyway, through all of this my blood sugars have remained relatively even. I have been straight up between 4.5-8.5 for two days!

I am really proud of myself for taking this kind of control when my brain feels like its spiraling out of control due to stress at work.

I love my diabetes today for giving me something to feel masterful and proud of during this hectic time. It feels so good, and yes I feel great too!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The night time low.

You wake up from a deep sleep on what feels like a lake of sweat. Your arms feel cold and tingly, your legs feel like they are made of lead and you are convinced if you lay still enough, your liver might kick in and correct your low blood sugar before you have to exert what little energy your will to live gives you. You have a sense that your eye lids are wide open but the only information your brain is processing is how close your nearest source of sugar is, vision is useless right now, you're in survival mode. Your hair is sticking to your forehead as you stumble towards the fridge. If anyone saw you now, they would be sure zombies do exist. Your desire for carbohydrates could rival the most realistic zombie's thirst for blood.


Reaching the fridge feels like it took hours, the steps between your bed and fridge are quickly forgotten as you're blinded by the light that washes over your ashen, damp face. As your eyes adjust to the fruits of your labour, everything looks divine. As you forcefully break the thin plastic straw and plunge it into your juice box of choice, yesterday's pasta between an old hot dog bun sounds gourmet. As you pile the snake like noodle son the bun, you spread peanut butter on a piece of cheese and sandwich it between two granola bars. With your juice box hanging out one side of your mouth, you stuff your granola bar sandwich in the other side and groan with pleasure as the sticky mixture starts to run down your throat. You can feel your tongue again and chills run down your back as your low-sweat starts to disappear.

The beep of the microwave snaps you out of your slow-chewing daze. All of the sudden you can not remember what was put in the microwave, but it must be delicious. You take large bites of your sandwich and decide it might be time to check your blood sugar. It rings 3.4, even though you just finished your first juice box, you drink another.

As the time passes you start to feel relief from the icy grips of low blood sugar. Not concerned with the pasta sauce dripping from the counter, or the peanut butter knife laying on the counter you crawl in to bed satisfied.

As you wake up there's that taste. Like you were licking sugar coated metal. Your teeth feel thick with fuzz, and your blood sugar is 18.7.

We've all been there. The night time low.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

D-community: I am not feeling well

I need to preface this post by saying that I don't hate my diabetes. I have touched on it a few times, but it has really enriched my life, and made me appreciate small things in life.

But today....today I hate my diabetes. It has made me feel like a failure at what I should be doing best: me.

It actually started last night. I had a relatively stressful day at work, and another one to look forward to, so I had a little bit of nausea. As a person with diabetes I immediately checked my blood sugar which rang in at a solid 7.3 post supper (eggs, toast and spinach).

As someone who (knock on wood) doesn't get sick (as in the last time I had the flu it was the great Swine Flu of 2009) I was confused. I didn't know where this nausea was coming from if my blood sugar was ok. I tested Ketones and it came in at 0.3 on my meter.

Something. Is. Up.

I crawl in to bed early, and hope that I wake up after having slept this off, check my blood and I am sitting at 14.8. When my sugar hits 10 I want to throw up, so this was a pretty significant feeling for me. Not to mention waking up is hard enough. I immediately changed my infusion set, knowing that it had to be done today anyway and corrected myself. I made myself some lunch and packed a bit extra for when I wanted breakfast later in the morning. As I was driving to work I was feeling woozy again, and warm and I had a headache. I was running a bit late, but after recently reading a blog about a woman who had a severe low while driving (thanks again d-community) I pulled over and checked my blood. I was now sitting at 17.5. I corrected again and kept going. At this point I was thinking I would have to change my site again.

But, 20 mins later I arrive at work and check again and I was sitting comfortably at 9.3.

A few hours go by, still not hungry I check again and I am 7.8. And since then I have been (in order around 2 hours apart): 16.4, 12.3, 10.4 and now I am 5.8, where I should have been all day.

So what has this told me? Nothing! That's the worst part. My sugars were whacked all day and I have had a nagging sour stomach for two days and that's the conclusive evidence I have towards my self-care. I ate a salad for lunch with some hummus on pita and just forced myself to eat some fresh rolls and a granola bar.

It could be stress.
It could be hormones.
It could be my infusion set.
It could be my insulin.
In could be my pump.
It could be something I ate.
It could be that I have a cut on my breast that is healing.
It could be that I slept too much.
It could be that I slept not enough.
Maybe I am dehydrated? Flu?

...Do people even get the flu in July when it's beautiful out?

That's the thing about living with Type 1. You never have a definite answer to "why?" The only thing we can do as people with diabetes is take the numbers we are handed by our meters, doctors, pee sticks etc and mash them up and make a solid effort. Some people try to turn this disease into mathematical equations and a science. Unfortunately every single person is so unique in  how they handle, react, treat and have diabetes we can not be fit into a textbook definition.

So move forward I shall and I hope for a better day mentally and d-wise tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The social side of diabetes. Part 1.

There is a lot that can be said for living with type one diabetes and how it can change people's perspective of you. As a kid I was kind of an odd one out for many reasons, but especially because of my needles. I remember distinctly getting yelled at by a "popular" girl in grade 5 because I "grossed" another popular  girl out so much that she wanted to "puke".

But, there was nothing I could do about it. I had to check my blood at lunch time. At that time I didn't take insulin at school, but I still needed to care for myself.

Fast forward almost 20 years. I was on a date with a guy that I had a lot in common with, and I thought it was going relatively well for a dinner date. After a glass of wine, we decided to order supper so naturally I checked my blood to see what kind of carb load I could take. When I checked my blood, I caught a glimpse of what could only be described as how his face must look if he just narrowly misses getting hit by a mack truck. I put everything away, corrected and carried on hoping to not be questioned about it. I told him I had type one diabetes and he looked horrified. We ate supper and after supper informed me he couldn't date someone with diabetes. I said "that's fine, I can't date a jerk either." We parted ways and that was it.

I also have people who see me, as a plus sized woman and assume I "did this to myself". Even after a quick education, I can't help but feel judged and belittled sometimes.


Some friends at Diabetes Camp

And then...and then there are the people who just get it. My fabulous boyfriend is patient, recognizes my needs and listens intently when I give him instructions on how to deal with me, what I am doing with my pump and more. I have friends who know that diabetes doesn't define who I am and it's just something I happen to do while we are out together, much like them desperately needing to check texts or emails. My family, close friends and my love know the disease, or at least know me and trust me to know that I am doing it right.

If I just had my love, my friends and my family I would be in a pretty great position in life. But then I get the cherry on my sundae (only and extra 5g cho!) ...the diabetes community. What the diabetes community does for each other is astounding. From lending a tester, or extra insulin to being there if you are experiencing a high at 4 am and just can't figure out why: the diabetes community always has my back. I have met dear friends at diabetes camp that are in a league of their own. We have grown up with the advances in medical research, the awkward phase of teenage years, dating, sex, love, relationships, family, and the ever going roller coaster of adding diabetes to every equation.

About three months ago I decided to take my self-care head on. My doctor seemed uninterested in fixing the social side of diabetes and really nobody else but the diabetes community could even attempt to understand it. At this point in time I discovered the diabetes social media advocates on twitter, I discovered a wonderful world of diabetes blogs (or dblogs) and I started to open up online about my life with diabetes. The support and connection I have felt is overwhelming and I truly think it is helping me achieve better results in my self-care.

So consider this a hat tip to all of the dbloggers, social media advocates, members of Facebook groups and anyone who discusses diabetes with me.

Without you I would be in a harder spot.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hello

A little about me and my blog: I have been living with T1 diabetes (type one, juvenile, insulin-dependent) for my entire life. I don't remember what it's like to not have diabetes, so when people say "jeez that sucks" I agree, just probably for different reasons.

I mean, really...diabetes in general sucks. I am constantly wondering what is happening in my body. How did what food react with my blood sugar? Did I give enough insulin? Too much? I plan on bicycling later today, should I eat carbs now? later? not at all? Did I test enough today? Am I sick, tired, thirsty or high? Is that person judging me because I have diabetes and am overweight? If I drink juice now, will my blood sugar crash again later? Are my lips dry or am I sick? My feet feel tingly, should I see a doctor?


Just a typical waking thought




However, sometimes diabetes is a blessing to me. I have made some incredibly amazing and life-long friends in the d-community. I have travelled all over Canada, the United States and have been invited overseas through the incredible network I have built. Living with diabetes has helped me understand nutrition, how the body works, and how the body reacts to stimulus probably better than people who have studied the body throughout their university and professional lives. There, I said it. Diabetes makes you smart when you care. I will get into why we have to be smarter than the average bear throughout my posts.

I decided to start this blog for a few reasons: 1) I have been following diabetes blogs for awhile and find myself thinking I have things to say too & 2) It's part of my road of accountability to my self-care.

I intend to talk about my personal views on my diabetes, and  life with diabetes in general as well as developments, research, and of course the day to day life of living with diabetes. I will gladly field any questions you may have, after all I do consider myself, and all of my diabetes community, experts.

Alanna