Thursday, July 31, 2014

What I Really Want Everyone To Know About Living With Diabetes

This following post is not necessarily aimed toward anyone particular, although someone did just make a statement yestarday that is the cause of me writing this post. If you are reading this and ever said anything to me along these lines, or to someone you know, please know that I don’t mean any of this in an offensive way whatsoever. I’m just trying to enlighten my readers, and maybe there is a bit of venting added as well.

 What do I really want you to know about living with diabetes??? A huge pet peeve is hearing “ I could never do that”. This statement is made in regards to so many areas of diabetes it’s unbelievable and when people say it,  it drives me crazy and depending on my mood, how it’s said and who it’s coming from I might want to try an enlighten them, or punch them in the throat. I do believe this statement is made out of complete and total ignorance because in reality the person saying it has no idea what they are saying or what that would mean. In my opinion, although there are many diabetics, Type 1, Type 2, or gestational or whatnot that do not take care of themselves,  I feel that they may not understand the true nature of what they are doing to themselves or even what this statement means to them and their lives or due to lack of education or sadly maybe they really don’t care, and they are the ones that struggle with “doing this”. That breaks my heart, and I don’t judge, it just makes me sad because both of my grandpas’ had Type 2. One took amazing care of himself and was able to get off of insulin and manage with diet, exercise and a pill and the other slowly killed himself by eating whatever and whenever he wanted and not taking the correct amounts of insulin or carb counting. It may not have been diabetes that actually killed him in the end but I know that it contributed a great deal to all of his health issues that did end his life.

Let’s do it this way, let’s take diabetes out of the equation completely. I want you to image the following without thinking about anything that you think you know about diabetes…

 You are given a choice. Limbs that are fully functional, but you have to work for them to stay that way or neuropathy with limbs that lose circulation, feeling and maybe possibly even have to be amputated. What do you choose?

 You are given a choice. Your eyesight as it is now or Retinopathy which may lead to severe vision loss if not complete blindness. Which will you choose?

 You are given a choice. Healthy kidneys that function properly or kidneys that go into shut down mode and you have to go through dialysis, if you are lucky maybe get a kidney transplant. Which do you choose?

 You are given a choice. A healthy pregnancy with a healthy child or a pregnancy with all kinds of issue that put both you and your child at risk and the very likely possibility of miscarriage or a child born with mental issues, deformed body parts, missing organs, the list can go on. Which do you choose?   

 You are given a choice. Life or death. Which do you choose?

By now, I hope you get my point. I didn’t choose to get diabetes. No one else that ever develops it chooses it either. I’m sure before I had it I would probably think the exact same phrase I hate hearing. “I could never do that”, when in fact if I didn’t choose to fight for the first choice in the above then it would be most likely that I’d end up with the second choice. So saying “I could never do that”, I don’t believe that most of you that have thought that or said would really go that route. You COULD DO IT if you had to. If you wanted to have the best quality of life possible then you would fight with every fiber of your being to do what you could to keep your limbs, your eye sight, your kidneys, yourself healthy for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, and for your very life. I don’t think a lot of people who are like my grandpa understood that. They think that they are untouchable even though this deadly disease has its grip on them. They think that it won’t happen to them. It might not immediately, it might take some time, but the likely hood of it happening is greater than it not happening if diet, exercise, carb count, insulin figuring is not all a part of management, if there is no management. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy food, I’m a huge foodie! Weekends are a favorite time to go out and try the newest restaurant in town or try out a favorite. I love to cook, I love to try new recipes and just because I eat healthy doesn’t mean I never eat unhealthy. As a matter of fact over the weekend we tried out a donut shop that we’ve been saying that we wanted to try and hadn’t gotten around to yet. But because I had a donut, I had to work at it to make sure that my blood sugar didn’t go too high because of that donut. It does take a whole lot of work and if you’ve followed my blog you’ve seen that there is burn out. It’s a fact, it can’t be helped burn out is going to happen. But then eventually I realize why I’m fighting for all these things on a daily basis and I get back on track to how I’m eating when and how I should, and managing things the best I am able. There is no guarantee that despite the fight that I will win and that these awful things that I’m fighting against will never happen, they still could, but the chances are greater that they won’t or at least I'm delaying them if I continue to do what you think “you could never do”.   If you think “you could never do it”…. the carb counting, insulin injections, finger sticks, self restraint and anything else that by now is second nature for me, YOU COULD DO IT if you had to! Because I believe you would want to choose the best for yourself and your health. You never realize how strong you are until you have no other choice and you are doing things you never thought you could.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Broken Sensor

Yeah,  so I wear my Dexcom sensor on my thigh and this has never happened.  I go to changed and my pants get caught and cause the side to break.  Now granted, it is almost 2 weeks old,  thank God it's not a new one!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Endo Search Is Over!!!!

And the winner is…………. Dr. Carmichael!

I have to admit that I’ve been pretty stressed for the past week whenever I have thought about my appointment for this morning with a new endo. Not only have I been apprehensive due to past bad experiences but also the location. He is out of Barnes Jewish Washington University medical research hospital in downtown St. Louis, not too far from my house but  I’m so not accustom to driving in the city for one, and for two, it’s a HUGE hospital! So many buildings, so many facilities, so many wings, so much traffic and just dang huge on top of not being sure where I was going. I had been referred to him by a couple of the women at the Diabetic Divas group that I’ve been to a couple times. He was one of two doctors that these ladies raved about so I called 4 months ago and made an appointment with the first available doctor. Dr. Carmichael was the lucky winner to get me. I think a lot of my nervousness started a couple weeks ago when I got the new patient paper work in the mail to be filled out and sent in beforehand. One of the things that had me groaning was the in depth meal plan that I was to list. They wanted me to list what I eat on a daily basis including snacks and carbs and asking if I follow a diabetic diet. I eat just about the same thing every day for breakfast, although I have been switching it up a bit lately. I mean, I count carbs, skip out on ice cream when everyone else around me is eating it and I know it’s a bad move at the time for me to indulge, so yeah, I’d classify that as a diabetic diet. Wasn’t so sure that they would see it that way.

 My appointment was at 8:40 but all the paperwork said to arrive no later than 8:10. I left the house at 7:30 to be sure I didn’t run into traffic or parking issues and I’m so glad I left when I did. Parking was a bit of an event in itself. Then there was going from the 4th floor that I was parked on to the 3rd floor to get to the elevators for the medical buildings I needed to be at in order to get to the 13th floor. When I got up there it was just a wall of windows that the diabetes center was facing, such a beautiful view of the city, one that I’ve never seen.

It was impressive, as well as the diabetes center office. It was bright and friendly feeling just like the staff and nurses.

 I was feeling more at ease as I talked to the receptionist and even as I waited in the waiting room. I spent a total of a little over 2 hours there with only about 30 minutes of it waiting. Considering past experiences this is a huge plus! I spent about 5 minutes with a nurse who took my vitals, weight and A1C, then 5 minutes with another nurse who took blood to get labs done, another huge perk in my book that they will do that in the office and send it to the lab of my insurance choice and I don’t have to make another trip to a lab. All the rest of the time I spent with the doctor himself! He was knowledgeable, had good bedside manner, and was very happy with what my Dexcom, meter and pump graphs showed. He was happy with what Deb my CDE at the perinatologist office has been doing, he encouraged me that I’m not OCD on checking my blood sugars and that I’m not paranoid, I just want to be healthy and that I’m doing a great job at it. When I told him about how the last doctor told me that I was OCD about checking my BGs he looked at me and said, "When it comes to diabetes, when it comes to your life there is no such thing as OCD. I have patients that have told me that they have had days that they have had to check 20+ times and that happens. When you are having a day of highs and need to get down you will check check check. When you are low for hours you will check multiple times in an hour to be sure you are not going to end up in a hypoglycemic episode. Also, especially since you have been trying to get pregnant it's important for you to check check check." Hearing this was very comforting.  He really had no changes to make to my pump settings, he did a very thorough exam of my feet and going over all my past medical history and records from the other doctors that I had sent. He made sure that he covered all my questions and treated me with respect when I asked a question or made a statement about something that I clearly know what I was talking about. He even printed me a copy of his notes and said that he would send them over to my primary and parinatologist. One thing he said he isn’t completely convinced of is that I truly have Diabetes Insipidus or DI.  He is getting all the records including the MRI I had done in 2011 from my nephrologists and he said he would look over them and see if it’s truly conclusive that I do in fact have DI. He mentioned that it might be possible that I have another very rare autoimmune disease of the pituitary gland that is not DI. Dr. Carmichael will be treating me from now on for that since it’s really another endocrine issue and not a kidney issue. That will be one less doctor to deal with which is nice.

Oh and more good news! I don’t necessarily like to write about what my A1C is because I really have no tips on how to get it to this point and knowing that others in the DOC work so hard to get it down I don’t like to write about mine and seem like I’m bragging, because, well I’m not. But I have to share this time because this is a huge thing! I’ve not been so low since the diabetes! I was sure that I had gone up and not down since my last A1C check in April. I was just hoping I hadn’t gone above 6, so I was totally and completely shocked when he told me that I was at 5.6!!! WHAT!!! That’s like almost non diabetic! Whoooooo hooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I did ask if he was sure that was correct and after looking at all my graphs and logs more he said yes, he didn’t see that there was any discrepancy of any sort. For any of you that are reading this and trying so hard to reach whatever your goal may be, I really wish I had some great advice how to get there. All I can say is that in my mind I think I am pretty anal about checking my BGs and constantly looking at my Dexcom to see what direction they are heading. I can be pretty obsessive and strict on when and what I do eat. Not saying I never indulge, as a matter of fact I did treat myself to a Dairy Queen chocolate extreme mini blizzard this afternoon. But I have set up certain rules for myself when I know how certain things affect my BGs. For one, I don’t eat ice cream after 6pm. I know that even if I bolus the correct amount of insulin ahead of time and wait 15-20 minutes before eating it, it will usually be 6 hours or so before it fully hits me and my BGs will rise. That’s something I can’t be on top of the way I like in the middle of the night. Same thing with other certain sweets in the evening. I also know that when I’m swagging, I can tend to over estimate my carbs in order to keep from going high, so then it results in lows. I’m not down playing my A1C by any means, just giving the only tips I can think of as to why it’s gotten to this point. I’ve also been so anal about it since trying to get my body baby ready. If I wasn’t trying so hard for that I don’t know what my A1C would be, but quite honestly, I doubt that it would be so low.

So peeps, looks like I have found a good doctor after almost 6 years of T1. This makes me so happy!

Monday, July 7, 2014

BBQ, Fireworks and Too Much or Too Little Food & Activity?

Friday, the 4th of July was a weird roller coaster of a day for my BGs. I’m having a heck of a time lately getting things to be even for any amount of time it seems like. At least even in the way I’d like. I’m either high for hours or low for hours. I’m on the verge of trying to see if it will help if I start doing much lower carb meals, although I really don’t feel I eat a huge amount of carbs at any of my meals or snacks anyway..... My morning on the 4th I woke up within range, after breakfast I climbed a little higher than I would have liked and then early afternoon I was hanging out higher than I ever like to be. Between 170-200 range. Did plenty of correction bolusing and temp basals and couldn’t come down. Went to a BBQ and ate some appetizers around 4 because I was starving because I had missed lunch, I pre-bolused and that didn’t do anything. We ate dinner around 6:30, I pre-bolused then as well, waited the 15-20 minutes to eat and still didn’t seem to want to drop below 160. Not long after dinner I decided to walk the mile with my hubby and his cousin over to see his aunt and uncle’s new house that they were working on. I knew that the walk would do me good. By the time we got there I had dropped to 60. I ate a pack of fruit snacks, my hubby’s cousin’s wife gave a us a ride back to the house were we had been for the BBQ. When we got back I was still running a little low. We were going to be walking 2 ½ or so miles to the city’s main park were the big 4th of July fair was going on. Since I knew we had a bit to walk just to get to the park and then once we got there we would have a bit to walk to get to where the fair was and for a good spot to see the fireworks I ate a piece of cake and did not take any insulin for it. I was afraid that I would regret the no insulin later, yet at the same time between my low sticking and know I was about to walk a lot I decided to chance it without the insulin. I’m glad I did because I stayed low. Having highs that I could not get rid of all afternoon sucked and then that night being low and not coming up was just a pain. During the walk to the park I had to have a juice box and a pack of fruit snacks and even then a couple hours later when the fireworks were ending I was 60 again. I had another juice box and a pack of fruit snacks both one right after the other in hopes that would bring me up knowing I had another long walk ahead of me. We started walking and after a few minutes I had to tell Brad I just couldn’t do it. We walked off the side of the path and sat down on the grass. One of the cousins in the group, she is a nurse and she was not feeling good about me walking the entire way back, and neither was I. There had been cops in golf carts all over the place all night so she suggested that they would walk to the security check point not too far away and she would get a golf cart to come pick us up and take us to the shuttle and her hubby and some of the others would make the walk home and he would get the car and come pick us up from the shuttle drop off point. Brad and I waited it out and I did the whole wait 15, check and if no sign of going up eat more sugar. I had just checked before they got back and I was only at 60. They came back with a lady who was with the fair security and she was asking me all kinds of questions that were confusing me. Come to find out, they couldn’t get a golf cart to come to our area, they were all in the main area of the park trying to usher people out, all they could back to us was an ambulance! No way was I having an ambulance come get me when I was fairly with it and not on the verge of passing out. She was very nice, she seemed to understand a little bit of how diabetes works, but even though I was fairly clear headed I was in no mind to really get into how much she knew. After a few minutes I checked again and I had dropped again to 53. I’m not sure how long we sat there waiting and checking, eating fruit snacks and waiting and checking. I thought I had over done it by bringing 2 juice boxes and 6 packs of fruit snacks, but thanks God I had all of that! I needed it. When I finally was able to start walking again I think I was in the 80’s. I had a bad feeling that all the sugar was going to finally hit and I’d end up high all night, so even though we did get to a shuttle we didn’t take one that would take us directly to the place we needed to get picked up from. When the shuttle dropped us off I was 121 and my Dexom showed a straight up arrow. At that point as tired I was from the BG roller coaster I was glad to have a bit of a walk again hoping I wouldn’t keep rising. Unfortunately I did, I had another rough night of highs, I was in the 170’s all the rest of the night, but as frustrating as that was, I’m very glad that there was no need for that ambulance ride.