Life.

I haven’t had a many ideas lately for writing a Type 1 Diabetes blog entry, but I do today. So here goes.

I don’t think I’d be way off base by saying I am a bit of a free spirit. I don’t like following orders, I don’t like people questioning my motives, I don’t like the rules… wait… this sounds darn right bratty… hmmm. Oh well. All our lives it seems we are taught to do the “right thing.” What is the “right thing?” For a middle class midwestern family I’d say it’s go to college, pick a good major, make sure your future is accounted for by the time you turn 18, settle down, have some kids, blah, blah, blah, rules, rules, rules. None of this is bad by any means. People are very lucky to have accomplished these things, but it isn’t always right for everyone. We are raised to follow our dreams, reach for the stars, all those other cliché sayings. What they don’t tell us is that yes, you should follow your dreams… as long as it’s financially responsible. Reach for the stars, but try to keep your feet on the ground. Now I’m not saying every middle class American family is like this, but in general? Yes. For the lucky ones (what I consider lucky, anyway), they break through and break free. As a type 1 diabetic, I don’t see how it’s possible to break free. Spread the wings and fly… (Is that a song? I think it is…I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky, spread my wings and fly away… oh, R Kelly…) Anyway, We have to have insulin. It’s integral to living. Insulin is not cheap. How could we possibly drop everything and move to a new city, a new country, change our career path, or move to an island somewhere to sell coconuts on a beach? Anything but stay where we are? We have to have a plan, we have to have a job lined up, make sure it has a good health insurance plan, all that jazz. The kind of stuff that clips the wings of any sort of free spirited bird. The whole situation is frustrating.

I am not saying I want to run off to Mexico City and work for an amazing foundation that rescues big cats or anything, but I’m not saying it’s something I don’t want to do either. I want the option. I want to be able to think about my future and not have to consider my disease and limitations. I want to go scuba diving with some dolphins, gosh darn it! Being a free spirit for a healthy individual is hard enough in a small town middle class American society without throwing in an expensive chronic disease to go with it. I just wonder if there are any Type 1’s out there that have broken free of the expected? If so, I sure would like to hear their story!

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Connections Connections Connections

Constant connections. It’s a plaque on society!!! Today we are all constantly connected to something.. our phones.. .internet.. tv… blah blah blah all that jazz, you get the gist.. For me that includes my insulin pump. I’m so very grateful for the freedom it has given me, but today I am questioning the irony of it all.

I woke up in an “eh” mood. Cats acting like a couple jumping beans wanting to be fed…a-holes…loud motorcycles zooming around my street…a-holes (they should be outlawed between the hours of midnight and 7 am), and the ever present overanalyzing thoughts that seem to always plague my mind….a-hole thoughts.  Ugh! Life! Ya know?

I read something on a friend’s facebook about how they wake up and do 30 pushups daily… in addition to their daily exercises. I figured “huh? Why not?” so I got out of bed and did that… bruised my knees because I have to do lady push-ups and my wood floors wanted to cause me pain… but non the less. Then while I was at it I figure I should go on a nice little walk. Clear the mind and soul. Forget about the problems and people in my life I can’t seem to solve for an hour. About this time my pump decides to run out of insulin. Grrreeeatttt… It only takes 5 min to change but it always feels like such an imposition. Darn you pancreas!!! I was only going to be gone for a little bit so I thought I’d go without the pump until after the walk and let me tell you…. It. Was. Glorious!!!!!! Everything about the walk. Brought my phone because I needed music (it’s a must in my life.) Sun was shining with a nice little breeze. The walk felt so refreshing and I came home feeling free. Cleared out some of those plaguing thoughts and was just happy. Then… about 2 min before I got back to my house… I remembered I didn’t have my pump on.. ugh. Life! I don’t why it was so different today, but not having that connected to me during physical activity was just really really nice. I sound like a baby complaining about the thing that essentially gives me the most freedom from Type 1 that I could be, but at the same time it feels like a chain. It got me thinking maybe I should look into other options that are not the pump. My cousin uses some sort of diabetic contraption that is not a pump. I don’t know. I’ve never researched anything other than the pump, but I need to figure out some options to get away from all these connections…. As I sit here. On the internet. On my blog. And probably share this to facebook. Haha… ugh. Life! Lol.

Anyhow, when did all these constant connections become the priority of our lives? If you read this you should go outside now. Take a sweet snooze in a hammock… if you have a hammock. Man, I wish I had a hammock…And a house in the country for which the hammock to nestle between two trees. How glorious. Oooo… or a beach! A beach hammock!!! And then pick a pinapple from the pineapple bushes that I’d have… maybe make a pino collata. If you like pino colatas…. Good song. Hmm…Maybe I have ADD?

Diabetes means your pancreas looks like a shriveled up noodle.

“Diabetes means your pancreas looks like a shriveled up noodle.” Haha… this is one of the things my family and friends had to say about Type 1 diabetes when I asked them what they thought it meant. Some gave me a legit answer and some gave me some humorous answers.

I have a habit of always saying things like “I’m low”  “I’m high” I forgot to turn my pump on” “I haven’t been getting insulin the last hour” “I don’t feel good, I think my blood sugars are messed up.” “You make my face hurt.” Things that might go over some of my friends heads or have them thinking I’m some sort of alien. Type 1 has been with me for so long I forget that not everyone realizes what I’m talking about. I just assume they know and you know what it means to assume. Ass-U-Me.

I thought it’d be interesting to see what some of the people closest to me think about Type 1. It has provided me with great entertainment…so here you go. I’m keeping it somewhat anonymous so I don’t embarrass anyone.

“It’s where you can’t have sugar bc your heart will stop….No….cause your pancreas can’t create life juice.” – Brother

“All I know is that you had to pee an unreal amount when you were little and it was annoying.  You have to pee a lot and take shots bc your pancreas is dumb. Your pancreas is so dumb it can’t do the one thing it was supposed to. It didn’t study enough.” – Other brother

“I know that you have to watch what you eat and there’s tingling in your in feet.” – Sister in law to which my brother responded “You’re just repeating what you saw in a commercial”

“It is early onset diabetes. No cause or nothing to cause it. Your body doesn’t process glucose and therefore you have to monitor it yourself and make adjustments. Having a good diet and exercise can help too.” – Childhood Friend *There is a cause to type 1…dealing with genetics..freak genes… and some environmental things… such as an illness (like chicken pox) can trigger the cells to destroy the pancreatic cells that create my “life juices” or insulin as it is commonly referred to as.

“I think of “juvenile diabetes,” though I know it’s becoming more commonly diagnosed in adults, too. It’s a chronic disease where the pancreas isn’t able to regulate the amount of sugar in the person’s blood. It’s not curable and it’s not fair.” – childhood friend

“It is a condition in which the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to keep the body’s blood sugar (glucose??) levels stable. People with type 1 need insulin to control it whereas type 2 people can control it in other ways, i.e. medication, diet, etc.” – New friend

“I’ll be embarrassed if I’m wrong. Type 1 diabetes is when your  pancreas can’t regulate the sugar in your blood. So you need to test your blood and manage the insulin level yourself.”    When I asked for a childhood memory: “I remember being jealous. I thought it was neat that you checked your blood sugar and you had that gold medical alert necklace. And you had to go to a camp for type 1 kids and I was sad I couldn’t do that too.”  – Childhood Friend *Side note: Diabetes Camp was the WORST experience of my LIFE! Putting a shy introverted kid in a camp where I knew no one was my worst nightmare. I’m lucky I made it out alive… haha… I’m not being dramatic or anything… I would never be dramatic!!! NO!!!

“Diabetes means your pancreas looks like a shriveled up noodle.” – Childhood friend

“It’s a life time sentence given to children. Children that should not have to be burdened with dietary restrictions. Children that never asked to have to test their blood several times a day. Children that just want to fit in with their friends. To have the freedom to enjoy a piece of birthday cake at a party without the hassle. Adults that have to watch everything they put into their bodies. Doctor appointments. Fear they’ve done something wrong that could have terrible consequences. A lifetime sentence without the chance for parole except they never committed a crime.” – Childhood friend – She told me after this she wasn’t trying to be gloomy, but that she was just trying to think of the hardships and I’d say she was pretty accurate… at least accurate in getting into my mind on the matter.

“Well from what I have gathered diabetes is a condition where a persons pancreas doesn’t function properly enough to provide the body with enough insulin to stabilize blood sugar levels…as far as “what it is”.. That’s about all I know really.. I’m not familiar with the different types and the differences really.. I know there are type 1 and 2 I think.. And then I know there is juvenile diabetes and also my mom had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with me.” – New friend *Juvenile is type 1

All in all I think most people had the basic gist of it all…except my family.. and there were a few statements from friends that weren’t a 100% but they did good and that makes my heart happy. I was planning on gathering more from people because I’m very interested in what people in my life have to say about it, but I lack patience so I’m going to post this one and maybe do a part 2 at a later date.

Please Don’t Ever Say This to a Type 1 (Prob Type 2’s too)

I have compiled a list of things that you should never say to me unless you want to get beat.

Now… this post is in good fun so to any family and friends out there who have said any of this to me…deal with it, yo. I’m 50% kidding, 50% serious. In other words I’m old enough that I don’t really care one way or the other if you say these shenanigans to me.

I don’t want anyone to stop asking me questions on my diseaseys  in the heazies (that’s what I’m nicknaming it tonight) I like informing people of the different types and what I do to keep on truckin’ so keep on askin.” I’m in the mood that I’m part country/ part gansta tonight.

Anyway here are a few for you.

1. “You need to eat something.”

This is a big one in my family and most of the time I’m told this when I’m completely normal…and by normal I mean my normal strange self. Proceeding this statement is people bringing me food after I already said I didn’t want anything… I’ve survived with this for 25 years…I’m well aware of when I need to eat something. I appreciate the caring, but please stop harassing me.

In my younger days they used to constantly give me rice krispy treats and muffins…. I swear, to this day, I can’t look at a rice krispy treat without getting upset and quite frankly, scared someone is going to try to make me eat it. I’ll probably have nightmares tonight. Thanks a lot, blog!

 2. “Have your kidneys/ eyes/ feet or whatever complication a type 1 can give you down the road failed you yet?”

Ummmm…seriously? It’s the “yet” that gets me riled. You don’t knowwwww me. You don’t knowwwww where I live. Just cause you know an old man that had problems doesn’t mean I will.

3.    “Should you be eating that?”

This one doesn’t bother me as much as it does other type 1’s. I’ve said it in previous posts. We can eat whatever you can eat…we just have to give enough insulin to cover it. Research and medicine treatments have come a long way since 20 years ago.  Join the 21st century why don’t ya?

4. “Why are you acting weird? Are you low?”

It’s my face. Shush it.

5. “Is that a pager?”

Yes. Yes it is a pager. I’m very important…. living in the 90’s and all that jazz.

That’s all you people get. Now stop harassing me for more blog posts!! Haha…100% kidding on that one!! Thanks for the support and requests.

And please don’t ever say these things to Type 1’s…foreva eva and eva evaaa? Yes.

You suck, Diabetes.

Some days ya just want to say “Suck it, diabetes.” And maybe you want to wrastle with your already dead, blackened, decrepit pancreas and punch it in the face.

Today was one of those days for me. For the following reasons:

1. I didn’t feel good and I was in a bad mood with a lot on my mind that I needed to figure out. When these things occur I am not exactly hungry and I find it annoying to have to take a break from feeling sorry for myself and try to find something to eat before I pass out. Diabetes is a rude brat. (And if any of you reading this are thinking I’m the brat I will punch you in the face.)

2. I opened my new pack of juice boxes I keep on hand for low blood sugars and realized I bought the kind that has “less sugar and naturally sweetened” blah blah blah. That’s all fine and dandy for moms wanting to feed their kids something healthier, but it kind of defeats the purpose for me. Not only does it not taste as good as the normal kind I now have to drink two of the darn things to equal one of the more sugary kind to get my blood sugar raised appropriately. Diabetes is a rude brat. (Don’t you dare think that about me, readers! Remember my earlier threats?)

3. Washed my sheets today and I hop in bed to get all snug as a bug in  my fresh clean blankets, roll to the side, and yep… feel the sting on my pump insertion site telling me I ripped part of it out. Now I gotta get out of my nice, clean bed and change out my site. Bleh. Diabetes is a rude brat. (Yeah, maybe I am a brat too. Deal with it, yo!)

On another note…. I was in Walgreens buying a lovely birthday card for a lady I work with and at the check out you can once again donate to JDRF. I hope you all think of me and my bad day next time you are checking out at Walgreens and open your wallets  a little more, maybe toss a buck or two JDRF’s way in honor of me and my fellow type 1 comrades.

If you made it to the end I thank you for listening to my rantings. You’re swell people.

Emily’s Silver Linings Playbook

Silver linings. Silver linings are defined as “a hopeful or comforting prospect in the midst of difficulty.” I believe every difficult aspect of life can have a silver lining. You just have to look for it. Finding a silver lining for having type 1 diabetes is not too hard for me. As annoying as it can be at times, I’ve never had too much difficulty finding the humor in it as well as using it to my advantage when warranted.

I’ve pretty much already written a post about this called Top Reasons You Want to be Type 1 Diabetic..I just didn’t use the fanciness of the words “Silver Linings” oooooo…I am like soooo totes cool right now.

You know what? I’m having writers block right now so I am going to go do some Just Dance 3 on the Wii to get my brain waves flowin’…If I had a big trampoline that’d be better, but alas, I do not. Please starting crying for me. This is a tragedy.

Ok, I’m back now.

For me the biggest silver lining on being type 1 is probably getting away with whatever I want. Haha. Want to punch someone in the face? Do it. “My blood sugar was really low, like 20. I’m lucky I didn’t go into a coma and die.” Get really hyper for no blood sugar related reason and embarrass yourself? “I was soooo low… clearly I would never sing in a super high voice and prance around a room if my blood levels were good.” Want to get out of going to your Great Aunt Sally’s bagpipe convention? “I’m having some issues with my insulin pump. I’ll probably be on the phone with the supplier for hours….sorry ’bout it.” Not paying attention to someone who’s talking? “I’m sorry, I need to go check my blood sugar.” Works like a charm.

My next silver lining is more in my mind and not for every type 1 out there, but sometimes I feel like I skipped out on other illnesses and problems because of my type 1ness. I don’t have allergies, I don’t really get headaches or such things. I feel like God is up there saying “Yo, she’s diabetic. She doesn’t need any other problems on top of that.” Why, thank you sir. Thank you very much.

There’s more silver linings out there, but I’m ready to move on to another task of the evening. Like practice some guitar…which is annoying and I want to bash it against a wall in frustration most of the time…. whoah. I must have a high blood sugar right now. 😉

Crossfit and Type 1 Diabetes

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Ah..crossfit…one day you are riding on top of the world and the next you are laying flat on the ground barely able to move while ghost babies beat on your muscles with hammers.

I started crossfit 10 weeks ago and it has definately been a love/hate relationship. If you don’t know what crossfit is, I suggest you look it up as I could probably go on and on about the tortuous things we do…haha.. I kidd, I kidd…It is a pretty difficult and  painful thing at times, but it is also very addicting and rewarding.

I am currently in experimental phases on how to deal with being type 1 diabetic while participating in such an intense workout. And for those of you who have not done it before, when I say intense, I mean INTENSE… My first couple weeks doing it I was in a constant state of extreme muscle soreness, here are a few difficulties I had:

1. I was unable to pick up the phone at my job without grimicing in pain at the soreness of my triceps.

2. At one point, and this is 100% fact, I had a staring contest with a stapler while I tried to figure out if I would be able to lift it, let alone actually staple my papers… I think I might have had to ask someone to help me… buutt.. in my defense it was a heavy duty stapler. Weighed at least a pound! haha

3. A couple of nights I had trouble sleeping. Every way I positioned myself was painful. I ended up laying on my back with my hands at my side as if I was a vampire sleeping in a coffin.

4. I can’t tell you how many times the lady I work with (Yeah, I said it, T!) laughed at me when I couldn’t get up or sit  back down in my chair. I can still hear her laughter sometimes in my nightmares. So mean.

At this moment, some of you may be wondering “Why the heck does she do crossfit if it’s that bad?” To that I would say this:

1. It’s addicting. I don’t know why but somewhere along the line they hooked me. Maybe they are giving us drugs through the air vents. IDK. Just trust me when I say it is addicting.

2. The standard rewards for doing any type of exercising. Weight loss, more engery, more strength to lift staplers at work, etc.

3. Crossfit is hard and as they say “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” I’ve taken that concept to things in my life outside of crossfit. For example, I’ve gone to the diabetes doctor 2-4 times a year…since I was 6 and everytime they stick needles in my arm and take my blood. I hate it. I’ve always had to lay down while they take it because the one time they said I was old enough to start sitting up for the process (I think I was in Junior High) I passed out. I watched them look for my veins, stick the needle in me and then as I watched the tubes fill with blood…bam! Lights out. Since then I have told the nurses I am laying down so I don’t pass out and I usully get looked at like a major weirdo and a “You’re too old to be such a baby about this” …this is turning into a long story…. Anyhoo, I just went to the doctor last week and as I was sitting there I thought to myself  “If I can survive crossfit 4 times a week surely I can sit up while they take my blood.” And you know what? I could. It sounds stupid but I was quite the proud gordon. I did have my neck turned to the side as far as possible so I wouldn’t see any of the process to the point I had trouble straightening my head to face frontwards again.

This post didn’t really have much to do with my type 1ness, but I am a living (obviously I’m living and not a ghost writing this. Or am i? Bruce Willis was dead the whole time…think about it) back to the point… I am living proof that an average type 1 who is not super fit can do it. If I can do it, you can do it! Probably should talk to your doctors before starting though. It does wreak havoc on the blood sugars. I’m still experimenting with my pump process.

Also, if any of you are my friends outside of this blog please feel free to join the crossfit gym I go to…just make sure you said Emily referred you ;)….and, yeah, I’ve probably already tried to talk you into it, but just do it. 10 weeks isn’t that hard of a commitment and from there you can see if you want to officially join. I won’t tell you it is easy, but I will tell you it is worth it.

pain

Not For the Faint of Heart

I went to the doctor recently and was scolded for my a1c (average of my overall blood sugar levels over a 3 month period) being too high… I blame crossfit but more on that later. I was told I need to keep my CGM (continuous glucose monitor) on for two weeks and then go back to see if it has gone down… Unfortunately I have been having major issues with the CGM and I feel like showing you all a gross display of bloody pictures. If you are faint of heart I suggest you leave this page immediately… If it wasn’t my own blood I’d probably pass out in heap…

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I don’t even know why there was such a bad bruise… I was actually pretty shocked to discover it after I removed the CGM and saw it. Yuck. That stinkin’ sensor cost $40 and only lasts for 3-7 days so it really really sucks when they don’t work the first day you put it in.

Anndd… The sensor I had in prior was fine until I went to crossfit the day of insertion and sweated my face off, because when I got home and went to shower the sensor was completely out… The sweat made it not stick to me anymore, I suppose. That’s $80 worth of sensors in a 2 day period. Son. Of. A. Monkey’s. Uncle!! Does any type 1’s with a CGM have any good taping suggestions I could use to prevent this from happening in the future? Cause, seriously, $40 is a lot of money to be tossing down the drain for this poor gal…

Terms of Endearment – Part Deux

Two days ago I started on my Type 1 Diabetes Terms of Endearment Part 1 post. I was going to give it a couple weeks before I did part two, but I am procrastinating right now on doing the things I know I should be doing…like laundry, dishes, recycling the 20 or so empty water bottles laying around my house…you know? All that really really amazingly awesome stuff you are just sooo excited to do so you decide to do anything but that. Well, here I am, ladies and gents. Part Deux commence!

“The Drunken Sailor” – This is what I refer to when my blood levels get so low I start resembling a drunken sailor. One minute you’re fine and the next you snap out of the low and find yourself in a sailor uniform with no recollection of how you got in it.

“Alma, check your battery.” – This is actually a quote from Sister Act. Whenever Fred (my pump) gets low in battery, he beeps at me. Beep Beep Beep. I speak beeps fluently so I’ll translate for you. He said “Alma, check your battery.”

“The Stare” – This is what I refer to when I see a stranger staring at my pump. I can almost hear what they are thinking. “Why does that girl have a beeper?” “Doesn’t she know it’s 2013?” “What a weirdo” “Do you have any more gum, more gum, more gum, more gum? Do you any more gum? Gum.”

“I’m frrreeeeeee” – This is what I think between infusion set changes when I have no pump site attached to me and I feel like a normal human being. I’m frreeeee. It is only a 5 minute or less space of time every 3-4 days, but I’m freeeee!!! Sometimes I’ll shower between site changes and then I’m freeeeee even longer!!!!! It’s beautiful.

“Crowns” – This has nothing to do with diabetes. This is what I say instead of “crayons” Lately, my friend…rude friend….at work has been giving me a hard time for this. She also laughs at me and stares at me when I am in pain from crossfit and can’t get out of my chair. She is also going to read this and she should know she is rude! RUDE! I kidd I kidd…I mean she really does do this and will read this, but I think it is funny. Like her face. BURN!!!! Hahaha…I think  know I’m funny.

“You’re killin’ me, Smalls.” – This is what I tell Pumpies (my pump) when he unclips himself from my pants pocket and dangles at my side, pulling at my pump site, trying to rip the tubing out of me. He is literally trying to kill me…. even though that is very unlikely to ever kill me….sooooo yeah.

“This is a stick up, give me all your money” – This is my feeling on the days the bill comes in for my diabetes supplies. I have insurance, but first I have to meet my deductible then I get it 100% covered…SO basically the stick up is the first half of the year. Sons of Bees.

Annddd that’s all for today folks. I really must do my chores now…..but first I think I’ll go on a walk. Yes, that is exactly what I’ll do. And then maybe go to the store and look for stuff I don’t need. Like a dog. A lab. A yellow lab. A male yellow lab. A male yellow lab named Winston. Someone give me money so I can get a dog…..A male yellow lab named Winston. Or Fred. Or Herbert. Herbert Fitzpatrick the 4th. I think I would name him the latter. I’d call him Fitz for short.

Terms of Endearment – Part 1

Here are some Type 1 diabetes terms of endearment I like to use on a regular basis.

“I’m high” – When the blood sugar is high…sometimes can cause a sleepy dazed look which people might actually mistake for a drug induced high….I’m just high on life, man. Peace, love and happiness.

“I’m low” – When blood sugar is low. If a diabetic ever says this around you get them some sugar, but whatever you do, DO NOT let them inside a grocery store! Terrible things may happen….lime jello might be bought. For the love of God, keep them away!!! Oh the humanity!

“We got a bleeder.” – This happens when I prick my finger and it continues to bleed after a longish (30 second) period of time. It’s annoying really….especially if you touch something not realizing and leave a trail of blood…kind of gross…to other people…I think my blood and wherever it lands is awesome. Sometimes I reread what I type and I don’t make sense….deal with it, yo.

“Son of a!!!!” – This happens when I change my pump site and it is  a hurtful one. 7 times out of 10 it doesn’t really hurt, but when it does…SON OF A!! That’s gonna leave a mark. (Tommy Boy) I hope most of you got that..otherwise we can’t be friends.

“Is this Diet?” – A diet soda is not always recognizable in a restaurant setting. Just accept it if I ask you to try my soda and tell me what you think of it’s diet/ non-diet status.

The Blood Fountain Gusher – This is what I refer to when I prick my finger and blood literally shoots out my finger tips. It doesn’t happen often, but it is a sight to behold when it does. I should probably be a super hero. I shall from this day forward only respond to “Emily the Finger Blood Shooter Outer”…. that sounds pretty legit and awesome, right? Not lame at all….no, sir. Not lame at all.

“Your mom goes to college.”  – That has noting to do with diabetes I just wanted to quote Napoleon Dynamite. Gosh!

My Beeps/ Pumps/ Pumpers/ Pumpies/ Fred – A list of some of my nicknames for my insulin pump. It prefers to be called “Insulin Pump the 3rd”, but I just think that’s too pretentious and I refuse to give into the demands of my beeps.

I’ve decided to make this post a Part 1 of a series  because  even though I have more diabetes terms I like to use, I’m ready to move on to a new task for the evening. I call it put on the jam jams and jam. A delightful time that consists of pajamas and the singing (or off key bellowing) of lovely tunes…like the Avett Brothers or some other really awesome band.