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Posts Tagged ‘insulin pump’

Sooooooo, it’s that time of year again. The time when I ask for money. “Wha?!?!?” You say. “That’s not all year round….?”

Shuddap

Anywho. The South Central Texas chapter of JDRF is holding their annual Walk & 5K Run to Cure Diabetes on October 19th, 2014 at the UT Health Science Center. However, that’s not actually why I’m blogging for the first time in a year and a half. Not entirely, anyway.

I’m starting up again because it has occurred to me that in all my efforts to look like I’m living successfully with type 1 diabetes (T1D), in the process I am actually KEEPING many of you from learning about it. A few of my close friends are probably sick of hearing about it, true, but I can think of only one or two who have, on more than one occasion, asked me several really good questions about it.

I just thought that since I don’t really delve into the nitty-gritty of it without being pressed, I might make it a point to write several little vignettes (blogettes?) over the course of the next couple of months to see if I can’t teach someone something new.

And if it makes you maybe want to donate to a really fantastic cause that means a lot to me, then WIN!

I’ve already thought of a number of topics but I thought I’d ask you if there’s anything you’ve wanted to ask but were too cautious or afraid of offending me. Here’s your chance. Comment below. I’ll answer anything – yes, even the question about what I do with my pump during “extra-curricular” activities (it comes off – like everything else). Anything.

And if you do feel like donating to my Walk team during this process, you can do so here.

Thanks as always for reading and stay tuned for an honest look at living with T1D.

 

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Write a letter to an older you (tell us what age you’re writing to!). What do you want to ask yourself? What lesson do you want to make sure you remember?

Oh geez, okay, let’s pick 60. A little over 20 years from now.

Dear 60 year-old Me,

YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU’D LIVE THIS LONG DID YA?!?!?!?!? No, you didn’t. Let’s be honest, you never thought you’d see 40 either, but here I am just six months away from the big 4-0 writing you this letter. Congratulations, you’ve made it this far.

I don’t know what complications you’re currently experiencing, but I’m guessing there’s some. Maybe the retinopathy that was an issue briefly in your 20s has raised it’s ugly head again and you’ve undergone a few more laser eye treatments. Hopefully they’re successful. Maybe the dreaded gastroparesis or kidney disease has started. OR, probably your biggest fear – a heart attack. Because let’s face it, those lows really do a number on your heart.

Or maybe you’re lucky. Because, let’s face it, a lot of living with type 1 diabetes is all about luck and we’ve had a lot so far – hopefully it will last. But I don’t think it will.

Maybe by now you’ve had your first ambulance ride and hospital stay due to hypoglycemia. It’s bound to happen, right? What person with type 1 diabetes makes it this or that long without one?

But regardless of whether your body is continuing with its lucky streak or you’re unable to walk any longer due to neuropathy, you can’t go back and undo bad decisions you made.

Stop thinking about that one time when you were 39 and exhausted from a super busy day and fell into a dreamless sleep for SEVEN UNINTERRUPTED HOURS only to wake up, look at your CGMS and realize that you were over 300 most of the night and didn’t even hear it buzzing at you to fix the problem. It was a stupid error and you were pissed at yourself then, but you can’t change the fact that it happened. Stop dwelling on it.

There may have been a lot of questionable decisions you made in your “youth”. Waiting too long to go on the insulin pump, not giving yourself enough insulin to cover the meal you ended up eating, choosing to go out to dinner with a client even though you knew you didn’t have your insulin with you. Those are just a few. Regardless of the repercussions, understand this:

YOU LIVED YOUR LIFE.

You didn’t let diabetes choose how you lived it. You enjoyed many activities and situations that you might have missed out on if you were overly cautious or completely unyielding in your care.

And you know what? You may be paying for it or you may not be paying for it now. But either way, the choice was made and can’t be undone. Just please promise me that you’ll continue to move forward making the best possible choices you can and not let yourself get mired in self-pity and recrimination because of the choices you made in the past.

Overall, your A1Cs were good. Better than good for a lot of the time. And you were extremely well-educated medically as to what was going on with your body and why. You could have done better, sure. You could have done a helluva lot worse too.

What’s done is done. Now go enjoy that artificial pancreas that you should be wearing by now.

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5 Challenges. 5 Small Victories. Make a list of the 5 most difficult parts of your health focus. Make another top 5 list for the little, good things (small victories) that keep you going.

Most Difficult:

  1. Constant worry. The other day my left big toe was hurting me. Did I think about the fact that I had run 3 miles and walked 2 and then spent several hours in heels? No. I worried about whether I was developing neuropathy. For the record, my big toe is now fine.
  2. Getting prescriptions filled. ONE OF THE MOST ANNOYING ACTIVITIES. The doctor’s office didn’t respond to the pharmacies request. So this now involves phone calls to the pharmacy, phone calls to the doctor’s office, phone calls to the pharmacy again – what, you STILL haven’t received the prescription?!? Yup, another call to the doctor’s office. This happens so often with ALL my doctor’s (at some point or another).
  3. Getting my pump replaced.My pump breaks. A lot. My friends with type 1 diabetes ask what the heck I’m doing with the pump but honestly I think I just have bad pump karma. So every time I need a new one, it’s about an hour on the phone (at least). Then, when the new pump arrives, it’s programming it. But at least now my daughter’s old enough to help.

    Programming pumps
    Yay, she thinks it’s FUN!!

  4. Going to bed. If you’ve ever had an overnight low (and chances are that if you have type 1, you have) then you understand what I mean. When you’re feeling especially fragile, going to bed can be a bit nerve-wracking.
  5. Daily interruptions. Stop and do a blood sugar. Stop and take your medication. Stop and make necessary doctor/pharmacy/pump manufacturer phone calls. Stop and treat a low blood sugar. Do another blood sugar or six. Stop and treat a high blood sugar. Change your pump site. Change your reservoir. If ever there is a cure fortype 1 diabetes, we are all going to suddenly find ourselves with so much free time that we’re going to take over the world.

(Not so) Little Victories:

  1. I’m still here. When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, the median age for people with type 1 diabetes was late 30s. It’s now in the 60s. Seeing as I’m now in my late 30s, I’m really grateful for that.
  2. Not only am I still here, but I feel pretty damn good. (Knocking wood.)
  3. I’m educating others. I work part time in the local JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) chapter and create brochures, flyers, postcards, etc. promoting outreach and fundraising events and I run a support group for adults living with type 1 diabetes. I may be living with this disease, but I’m not alone. The least I can do is help.
  4. Waking up in the morning. If you’ve ever had an overnight low (and chances are that if you have type 1, you have) then you understand what I mean. Waking up in the morning after a difficult night can make a person very thankful.
  5. I’m more aware of what’s going on in my body than the average Joe. And chances are that if you use medical jargon around me I’ll understand. I make decisions everyday that are better for my body in the hopes that it will make a difference.

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Dear 16-year-old-me. Write a letter to yourself at age 16. What would you tell yourself? What would you make your younger self aware of?

Dear 16-Year-Old Me,

You’re a junior in high school and it’s probably too late to tell you to take school more seriously, but at least be a little more selective about what college you go to. You’ll get in to your safety school, but a few others as well. Think less about getting far away from where you grew up and more about future employment endeavors.

You’re planning to head off to a summer in Italy where you will have the time of your life. It will be your first time traveling out of the state without your parents and you are scared to death but excited at the same time.. You will do better than survive, you will thrive. You will prove to yourself and your parents that you could do it. One little piece of advice: don’t take your tripod with you. During a layover in Hamburg, Germany your metal fold up tripod will look like a gun and security will frisk you and question you at length until they finally realize that it’s just a tripod. If you do insist on bringing it anyway, bring a pillow too. You’ll need it when you spend the night in the airport lobby after the security delay causes you to miss your connection. Oh and please organize the many negatives from the photos you took on your trip so that one day, when you have a home of your own, you can enlarge and frame a beautiful shot of the gondolas in Venice that you took during the Regatta Storica. If you don’t, you will kick yourself with every new house. DO IT. Oh! Last thing, I promise – kiss that boy. You’ll know who I mean, kiss him.

In fact, as a general rule, date more, let loose more. There will come a time in your late 20s where you can’t anymore so do it now while you can. Just be smart about it and have fun.

You’re probably getting ready to take your driver’s test and I’d like to strongly suggest that you don’t take it immediately after you’ve had your wisdom teeth pulled – even if that is the only time that your sister says she can take you. You will not be successful driving while on Percocet and will fail your first test. I know you’re super excited, but just wait.

Speaking of your driver’s test, do more blood sugars. In fact do them before you drive whenever conceivably possible. You will not have an accident due to being too low or too high while driving, but your future self now knows that was just because you were insanely lucky. Get in the habit now – it will be easier than when you’re in your 30s and a mom and fully understand the importance. You’ll take a “break” soon from taking good care of yourself and doing so will seem less important and the number of blood sugars you do throughout the day will drop dramatically. This is because you’re stubborn and stupid and right now you just think you’re in control and you don’t need to do it. You do. Stop being an idiot. Test your blood sugar regularly no matter what and shut up about it. Again, it will be easier to get in that habit now rather than later.

And speaking of blood sugars, GO ON THE INSULIN PUMP. Seriously, stop saying no to your doctor. Again, you’re being stubborn. The insulin pump will change your life and make it so much easier to take care of yourself. If you don’t, you’ll wait until after 9/11 when you’ve been taking multiple daily injections for 22 years and run out of supplies while you’re stranded in Seattle on a business trip and can’t get a flight home because of the attacks. Do it now and save yourself a lot of grief.

Be nicer to your sisters and don’t get so upset when they’re not so nice to you. You will lose one sooner than you ever thought possible and will live the rest of your life wishing you had more time together. Let their comments and anyone else’s for that matter roll off your back – you know who you are and what you see when you look in the mirror. Don’t let anyone make you feel badly about yourself.

And finally, wherever you end up living or whatever you end up doing, make sure that you’re in Malony’s Bar in Scottsdale, Arizona on May 17, 1997. That really tall guy who is staring at you is going to become your husband and you’re meant for each other. Just ignore those god-awful shorts he’s wearing, he’s an amazing guy and he’s yours. Don’t miss him.

Love,

Your 38-Year-Old Self

P.S. – GO NOW AND BUY SOME APPLE STOCK. NOW, RUN!!!!!!! Hmm, throw in some Intel stock while you’re at it…

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So today I ran to our local H-E-B grocery store to pick up a few things. As I’m walking in I step aside to make room for a couple with a grocery cart and notice that the wife has a Trader Joe’s bag over her shoulder.

“Excuse me,” I say, “but is there a Trader Joe’s here in San Antonio?”

She shook her head and said, “No, but is that an insulin pump?”

When I said it was, she showed me her own insulin pump. Of course I invited her to join our adults with type 1 support group, but what a great chance encounter it was! If I hadn’t asked about Trader Joe’s, she never would have looked at me and seen my pump and we wouldn’t have met.

Who knows where or when my next diabetes encounter might be…

And it really sucks that there’s no Trader Joe’s…

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