Wednesday, February 25, 2015

This is a Low . . . .

darknessThis is a low.  It’s the moment when you go from “I feel a little bit funny” to “Oh crap, this is bad”.  When you begin eating anything you can get your hands on.  When you start seeing dark spots before your eyes.  When you wander around the house feeling like your consciousness is slowly slipping in and out.  When you feel fear begin to take over.

This is a low. When suddenly you can think of nothing but the comment you just left on Facebook.  You only vaguely remember what you typed and you can only hope it made sense - at least a little bit.  You know the person you were commenting to has diabetes too, so even if you type complete nonsense he will understand.  But you still can’t help but feel really embarrassed.

This is a low.  When you are suddenly overcome with exhaustion.  When you wander upstairs with a bag of chips in your hand, shoving them into your mouth as you crawl back into bed.  When you snuggle up to your cat because even though you know she can’t help, you feel a weird safety in the knowledge that you’re in the presence of another living creature.  When you continue to pet her as you shut your eyes, knowing that as long as you can still hear her purring softly beside you, everything is okay.

This is a low.  When, thankfully, the food you’ve inhaled finally starts to overtake the insulin in your body.  When the clouds in your mind finally start to part and instead of feeling like you’re fading away you start to feel whole again.  Like you’re a little more there then you were a minute ago.  When it feels like someone pulled back a heavy curtain that was in your brain and solid thoughts flood in like strong rays of sunshine.  When you feel relieved to know everything is going to be okay.  When you are no longer sure you are about to die.

This is a low.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Much Too Much . . . . .

I was browsing through the camera roll on my phone recently and came across this picture.  It’s from a breakfast we had at the casino on an overnight trip we took during Christmas break.  I had shared it on Facebook at the time, with a comment about how I needed a small village to come help me eat it.  I wasn’t kidding either.  That pancake was bigger than my head!

Pancake
I think I also joked about being glad I had a full reservoir of insulin in my pump, because I’d probably need it all to bolus for this monster pancake.  But of course, in reality I’d never eat that whole pancake.  I wouldn’t even eat half.  And we always end up doing a lot of walking at the casino and I’m always fighting lows, so it was the perfect time to indulge in some (but not all) of that pancake.

Which gets me thinking.  As a person with diabetes, I know I shouldn’t eat a pancake twice the size of my head.  It just wouldn’t be healthy.  But you know what?  NOBODY should eat a pancake that big.  It isn’t healthy for anyone.  And the more I think about it, the more I believe a restaurant shouldn’t even be serving pancakes that big.  Now I’m not blaming restaurants for any obesity epidemics or anything like that.  Nobody forces food down our throats and just because it’s put in front of us doesn’t mean we have to eat it.  But this pancake bothers me because when I look at it I see a huge waste of food.  The morning that pancake was served to us, similar ones were served to a table of teenage boys next to us.  Even they could not eat the whole thing.  That says something to me.

As a person with diabetes, I know what is healthy for me to eat and what isn’t so good.  Sometimes I make good food choices and sometimes I don’t.  I believe those rules should also apply to people without diabetes.  Know what is healthy and what isn’t, try to make the right choices, but don’t beat yourself up for indulgences here and there.  But restaurants?  Please don’t serve portions sizes that are so unbelievably huge . . . . because that’s just a waste of food and I find that shameful.

Diabetes or not, it really is much too much.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - #SpareARose

InsulinThis is the insulin that lives in a drawer in my refrigerator, next to the cheese compartment.  I’m lucky to know it’s there, ready to keep me alive for the next three months.  I’m lucky to know that as I use the bottles up, I can order my next three month supply so it’s ready and waiting when I need it.

PumpThis is my insulin pump.  The icon in the upper left corner is filled in with gray, showing that I’m lucky to have a full reservoir of insulin to get me through the next three days.  The large numbers toward the right show my insulin bolus being delivered so I can enjoy . . . .

Cookies. . . these festive cookies I’ve baked.  I’m lucky to have a wonderful husband to share them with as we look forward to Valentine’s Day together.  I’m lucky to live in a time and in a part of the world where I have the medications and devices that allow me to eat a cookie (or two) without shooting my blood sugar dangerously and deathly high.

SpareARoseDOTorgThis is Spare A Rose.  It’s a reminder that not everyone is as lucky as I am.  It’s a reminder that Pete and I don’t need to spend a lot of money on flowers and chocolates and jewelry and other gifts.  We need to help others who can’t afford the insulin they need to survive.  Each $5 donation provides life saving insulin or test strips to someone in need for a month.  $5 is such a small amount but it can do so much.  Please join me in making a donation so others can know what it feels like to be as lucky as we are.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Time Stands Still . . . .

timeIsn’t it funny how time can seem to pass at such varied speeds?  The weekends zip by in a blink while weekdays pass much more slowly.  Today I’m willing to put money on the fact that winter is three times as long as any other season.  (Yeah, I know that isn’t true, but as I look out the window and see everything coated in ice it sure feels true.)  And, of course, there are many times when diabetes certainly makes time crawl.  Like when?  Well, I’m glad you asked.

Pre-bolusing!  I try to dose my insulin about 20 minutes before I eat.  And oh my gosh, those 20 minutes take FOREVER to pass.

Coming down from a high!  Ugh, high blood sugars.  Sleepy, achy, thirsty, syrupy. sluggish torture.  Even the fastest of our fast acting insulin can’t provide relief quickly enough.  And the whole time I’m trying to talk myself out of rage-bolusing, which will only result in a ride on the glucocoaster.  And I hate rollercoasters of any kind!

Starting a new sensor!  It takes two hours after inserting a new sensor before you can enter the first calibration to get it up and running.  In those two hours it’s important to keep blood sugars as stable as possible.  Which is actually kind of laughable, because, you know, diabetes doesn’t really play that way.  Suddenly very hungry?  Sorry, wait two hours.  Feel yourself dropping low (which, ironically, you probably would’ve caught sooner if your sensor was running)?  Well, you have to treat, but now you’d better wait even longer before putting in that first sensor calibration.  Oh the things that happen in those two interminable hours.

Coming up from a low!  Or, more fairly, coming up  from a nasty low.  You know the ones?  Shaky, sweaty, confused, feeling like you are going to keel over any minute.  I really despise those lows, and they usually seem to drag on forever!

Are you with me on this?  What other instances have I missed when diabetes makes time absolutely crawl?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Bitter-Sweet Chips . . . .

Here in New England it’s way to cold to venture out today.  So instead, I’m venturing out virtually to hop around the web.  Join me?
  • Spare A Rose is in full swing again this year.  If you buy your Valentine just one less rose and donate that cost, you can provide ONE MONTH of insulin to a child and save their life.  Hard to argue with something as simple as that, right?  Please make your donation now and help spread the word about #SpareARose.  Flowers die, children shouldn’t.SpareARoseDOTorg
  • Sara is celebrating her diaversary by matching Spare A Rose donations.  And that is pretty darn awesome.  You’re going to donate to Spare A Rose anyway, right?  So let Sara know and she will match your $10 donation.  (Of course, you can donate more than $10, which I did, but just let her know you donated at least $10 for her to match.)
  • As I mentioned above, the mild winter we started with here in New England has more than made up for itself.  An extended forecast showing nothing but snow and below freezing temperatures does nothing to pull me out my current spell of depression.  And no, I don’t want to build a snowman, thank you very much.
  • Three more of my posts have gone live over at the ReliOn blog.  This time I’m weighing in on finding the right doctor for you, dealing with foods that cause blood sugar problems, and finding support (which is, of course, a topic near and dear to me!). ** My disclosures can be found here. **
  • You probably know today is Blue Friday, right?  But did you also know today is also National Wear Red Day? This year I’m wearing red in honor of my friend Leigh, who shares some of her story here.  We’re very thankful to still have her here with us.
Okay, it’s time to crawl back under my blankie.  And maybe brew another pot of coffee.  Stay warm!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Best of the ‘Betes Blogs

I’m very excited to host this month’s Best of the Betes Blogs, which helps to highlight awesome posts in the DOC.  So settle in with your favorite beverage and take some time to check out a few January posts you shouldn’t miss!

Best Use of Humor: Diabetes often influences much of our day.  But in Stephen’s case, diabetes can sometimes influence dreams too.

Best Recipe: These peanut butter cookies with a surprise chocolate center from A Sweet Life look very hard to resist!

Best Use of Photography: Sarah’s powerful picture perfectly compliments her powerful words about “the things we least want to do”.

Best Advocacy: Seeing important advances in diabetes technology highlighted in mainstream media is a wonderful thing.  But Renza highlights how important it is for media to report responsibly in these situations.

Best Story of a D Meet-up: Diabetes may be the common thread that begins friendships, but Sara reflects on how friendships become so much  more.

Best non-D Related Post: April shared a fascinating first hand account of NASA simulations.

Best Post by a Type 1: Complications can be difficult to talk about and can carry stigmas and emotional baggage.  Tarra shared her thoughts and experiences in a brave post to help reassure and educate others.

Best Post by a Type 2: “ . . . this winter is kicking my ass”.  I definitely identified with Rachel's struggles with depression.

Best Post by a Type Awesome: Lorraine had a couple of reservations about using CGM in the Cloud but found the outcome to be the opposite of what she expected.

Best Post by a LADA/ Type 1.5/ Not otherwise specified: On her five year diaversary, Katie reflects on why it's worth celebrating.

Best Story of a D-mistake:  Ever go through your checklist before leaving home, only to discover later you forgot something very important?  I have, and so has Reva!

Best Motivational Post: This month Victoria also celebrated a diaversary, and shares her impressive accomplishments and what motivates her to Ride to Cure Diabetes.

If your post was included in this month’s list, feel free to grab the Best of the 'Betes Blogs button below and display it on your blog.  (Say that five times fast!)

A big thank you to all who submitted nominations and congratulations to all who were nominated!
Ally at Very Light, No Sugar
Kerri at Six Until Me
Laddie at Test Guess and Go
Mike at The Diabetic's Corner Booth

Hosting Best of the 'Betes Blogs was a lot of fun and if you’ve ever thought about signing up to host a month DO IT!!!  Just email Best 'Betes Blogs to say that you're interested.  And any time you see a great blog post you’d like to nominate, just fill out this simple form.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thank You, Flu Shot . . .

Given the news that this year’s flu shot has been less than effective, you might think I wrote this post title with a heavy dose of sarcasm.  That could not be farther from the truth.

shotI’ll let you in on a little secret.  Until this year, I never bothered to get a flu shot.  I’m not against them or anything.  I guess I just never got around to it.  And I get lots of colds but hadn’t had the flu in forever.  But this year, I happened to remember to ask about a flu shot at my September endo appointment.  Honestly, both my doctor and the nurse were shocked that I never had a flu shot.  “Never?”  “Never.”  “Never ever??”  “Yes.”  And with that,  my first flu shot was administered.  I felt cruddy the rest of the day.  My arm ached for longer than I expected.  And then reports came in that this year’s round of flu shots wouldn’t protect against newly mutated strains of the flu.  I rolled my eyes at the irony of my situation and put it out of my mind.

Until, however, Pete came home sick from work.  The next day I was also sick, and we thought we had really bad colds.  But for every symptom I had, Pete had a more severe version.  And many of his symptoms never hit me at all.  Four days later I was much better, while he still had fevers over 100 degrees and aches and pink eye (which I thankfully escaped) and was sleeping almost 20 hours a day.  It took a trip to the doctor and a round of antibiotics and eye drops to get him back to 100%.  In fact, although he’s no longer contagious and has gone back to work, I think he’s still not quite 100%.  (Just ask the snoring that keeps me up at night . . . . )

So it looks like I picked the right year to start getting a flu shot after all.  Because it’s the year that we actually came down with the flu.  And even though diabetes usually makes sickness worse for me, in this case my flu shot gave me the upper hand.  (Although as a side note, diabetes did throw a sticky low at me as we left for Pete’s doctor’s appointment.  He didn’t feel up to driving, but ended up driving both ways because it took treating three times to get me back into range.  So much for having the upper hand . . . . )

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Revisiting: Sick

Pete came home one day last week with a cold.  Of course, as always, he shared.  After four days cooped up in the house together, we both started to feel better.  (Except for the fact that we pretty much wanted to kill each other by that point.)  Luckily, Pete went back to work yesterday . . . . but came home feeling worse than ever.  Things when from bad to worse last night when he proclaimed “Sweetheart?  I think I have pink eye.”.  So he’s off to the doctor today.  Luckily, I’m still feeling much better (just trying to ignore the power of suggestion that is making my eye itch).  But I have a sick husband to take care of and a ton of laundry and cleaning to catch up on.  (And even more, now that I need to disinfect everything of pink eye germs).  So, it seems like a good time to revisit a little rhyme I wrote in 2009 when another cold had me feeling cruddy.

A nose that’s stuffed,
A throat that’s sore,
Blood sugars running high.
Chills and shivers
And ears that ache,
Just make me want to cry.

Some stupid germ
Some mean virus
Has nestled in my head
Making me sneeze
And sometimes wheeze
And turning my poor nose red.

Can't clean or blog
Or do laundry
No treadmill for me today.
Will soup and tea
And a nice long nap
Please make this go away?

I'll watch TV
and get some rest
And have plenty of time to knit.
And hope that tomorrow
when I awaken
I no longer feel like like . . . .