Thursday, December 18, 2014

35 years . . . .

cupcakeOne day this month is my 35th diaversary.  We don’t know my exact diagnosis date, so I always just pick a day somewhere during the middle of December to observe the demise of my pancreas.  Today seems as good a day as any.

I find myself with conflicted feelings about living 35 years with diabetes.  It seems like such a huge chunk of time.  And as I like to say, life with diabetes hasn’t been all bad.  I’ve met some of my best friends because of diabetes.  Real-world friends.  On-line friends.  And, perhaps the most dear to me, on-line friends who have become real-world friends . . . . or actually more like family.  And even my “twin”.  I’ve had some great experiences and opportunities that probably wouldn’t ever have come about if not for diabetes.  For all of that, I’m thankful.

But honestly, at this moment I feel the good is no match for the bad.  There are things about diabetes that make me so angry.  And I’m going to vent them here, today, because I’ve decided after 35 years I have that right.  Here goes . . .

Diabetes, I hate that on Sunday morning I was sleeping soundly and in the middle of a dream when I awoke to Pete putting his hand on my back.  He explained that I wasn’t moving and he couldn’t see me breathing, so “I got scared and had to make sure you still felt warm.”.  That moment showed Dead in Bead is a real fear for my husband, and I despise that.

Diabetes, I hate that 11 year old me had to watch other kids eat cake that I was denied at birthday parties in the days of exchange diets and crappy insulin.   I hate that I still carry scars from that.

Diabetes, I hate that every time someone judges my diabetes management, a small piece of my confidence is chipped away.  And I hate that every time someone judges someone else’s diabetes management, a small piece of my heart breaks.

Diabetes, I hate that no matter how badly I need to take a break from you, that isn’t possible.  Pete and I have talked about giving me a Diabetes Day Off, but I think he’s so afraid of hurting me he just can’t do it.  We joke about wanting to bribe hire a D-Mom to come take over for a day.  Truthfully, it isn’t really a joke because I would absolutely love to be able to do that.

Diabetes, I hate that as a teen I would lay awake at night counting how many healthy years I thought I had left.  I didn’t think I had many, maybe 5 or 10.  I was sure I’d be long dead by now.  I really thought there was no use trying to take care of myself, because complications and early death were guaranteed.  Yes, I’m happy I was wrong about that, but I hate that I felt I had no future.

Diabetes, I hate that you make my loved ones worry about me.  I also hate that their worry probably runs far deeper than I can even imagine.

Diabetes, I hate the fear you bring to every eye exam and lab test.  I hate feeling like I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

In 35 years I’ve built up a lot of diabetes hatred.  But, of course, I know diabetes is here and it isn’t going anywhere.  So in the end, after I’ve let myself have this good venting session, I’m picking myself up and just continuing on . . . . . .

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Blogging Venture . . . .

I’m excited to share that I’ve recently contracted with ReliOn to contribute some posts to their new blog.  The posts are meant to be short and easy to read, with basic information and actionable tips.  As someone who tends to be very long-winded, this has been a fun writing challenge for me. 

relion_logo_new7.25The first three posts I’ve contributed are up, if you’d like to take a look.  I tackled the topics of involving family in diabetes management, ways to stay positive with diabetes, and tips for traveling.  Feel free to let me know what you think!

** My disclosures can be found here. **

Monday, December 15, 2014

Reboot my Pancreas . . . . .

Last week was a craptastic one.  The coffee maker went from leaving a small spot of water behind after brewing coffee to completely saturating the cloth I’d been putting underneath to catch that bit of water. So off I went to Target for a new coffee maker (since coffee is priority #1 in my house).  Of course, I went low in Target (like you do) and probably made a bit of an ass of myself at the register because I was pretty damn confused by the checkout process.  After several Starbursts and a GoGo Squeeze apple sauce I was okay to drive home, only to find my laptop’s hard drive had died.

So obviously most of my weekend revolved around my computer-less status.  Words like reboot . . . . reinstall . . . . . import . . . . backup . . . . pepper my vocabulary more than I’d like.  Which made me think, although this whole process is like spending some quality time with Lucifer, wouldn’t it be worth it if we could do for a pancreas what we do for a computer?  First, before diabetes comes to visit, we backup.  At the first diabetes symptoms, we do a virus scan on our immune system and send the virus to the vault.  Then, import that healthy immune system and pancreas that we backed up and reinstall them.  And then, do a reboot and no more diabetes!

Ah well, it’s nice to dream, isn’t it?  But I suppose a pancreas reboot isn’t happening today.  I’ll have to settle for the import / restore that is happening on my brand new laptop instead.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Strategy . . . .

‘Tis the season . . . . for a bazillion articles with advice on how to handle diabetes during holiday parties.  Everywhere I turn I’m reading game plans for resisting festive treats and eating healthy at celebrations.  And can I let you in on a little secret?  I ignore all of them!

partyI work really hard on my diabetes management all year long.  I’m not perfect - not even close.  Shit happens.  But I follow the game plan my endo and I have come up with and, for the most part, my labs are all good.  We are happy with my A1C.  My standard deviation is fine.  The small bleeds found in my eyes several years ago are long gone.  My hard work is paying off for now.

So, quite frankly, I’m NOT going to eat an apple before leaving for a party so I’m not tempted by the appetizers.  I’m NOT going to fill up on crudité without the dip.  I’m NOT going to choose only lean proteins and vegetables at the buffet.  I’m NOT going to drink sparkling water instead of wine.  I’m NOT going to have only one bite of dessert to taste and pass on the rest.  Don’t get me wrong, if those tips work for you then I certainly respect that.  I’m just not willing to do any of it.

Here is what I will do.  I will pump up a temp basal.  I will estimate carbs and bolus.  I will keep an eye on my CGM graph.  But most of all, I will eat, drink and be merry.  I will have fun at holiday parties instead of worrying too much about what diabetes is doing.  It’s okay if I spike.  It’s okay if I go low.  It’s okay if things are a little off track.  It’s okay,  because it’s Christmas and I deserve to splurge a little and enjoy the season.  I may not get a true break from diabetes, but I’ve earned the right to loosen up a little and just have fun.  And THAT is my holiday strategy this year.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Motivation . . . .

When I’m really in the throes of diabetes burn-out, I can’t seem to muster the motivation to wear my CGM sensor.  That is where I have been lately.  Until this happened the other night.

Five hours later, when I got up for the day, you can bet I put a new sensor on.  It seems waking at just after 2:00 am with a dangerously low blood sugar was all the motivation I needed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hurts so Good . . . .

Over the weekend, Pete and I worked on reconfiguring our bedroom T.V. stand so it would be more functional and organized.  I needed to retrieve one of my big, lined baskets from the basement to hold the old VHS tapes we weren’t ready to part with.  Our basement is unfinished, meaning it’s a dimly lit space comprised of cinder blocks and spider webs.  This also means it has become the dumping ground for stuff we aren’t using right now, but will probably need in the future.  Like big, lined storage baskets.

hurtI slid my sock-clad feet into the old pair of Crocs I keep at the top of the basement stairs and headed down to dig through the disorganized mess that is our cellar.  Just as Pete called “Be careful” behind me I felt a sharp pinch on the bottom of my foot.  I ignored it and dug out the basket and returned upstairs, feeling a pinch every few steps.  So I sat down on the bed, pulled off my sock and investigated.  I could feel a thin splinter sticking out of my heel, so I did what I always do in this situation.  I called Pete to come remove it for me.  (Disclosure:  I walk around in socks, or even bare feet, all the time.  So splinters in my feet happen every few months.  Not at all diabetes-recommended, but I'm being honest.)

Since whatever was in my foot was still mostly sticking out, it only took Pete a second or two to pull it out with tweezers.  Once he was done, he remarked “That was really thin!  I’m surprised you even felt it.”.  And to me, that’s a pain that hurts so good.  I may not know what was in my foot.  Maybe it was a stinger from a bug (but let’s say no because I hate to think my foot was in a shoe with an icky bug in it) or maybe it was a tiny splinter of wood.  In the end, whatever it was, it put my mind at ease.  Because after about 35 years with diabetes I can still feel the tiniest jab in my foot.