Thursday, May 31, 2007

Public Awareness

I am kind of on a rant today. I worry about the state of Type 1 diabetes when it comes to public awareness. I realize that around 90% of diabetics are Type 2. I am not ignorant to that fact. But I think that the public is not well educated on diabetes in general, but in particular when it comes to the differences between Type 1 & Type 2.

I think that the public in general, including a lot of Type 2 diabetics, are ignorant to the differences between the types. That bothers me.

I wish there was some way to start some sort of campaign the inform the public.....maybe I should start one? Who knows.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A New Site!

Okay, so I have been hearing since I started this whole pump deal, nearly 13 months ago, about using different infusion sites other than the stomach. I have toyed with the idea many times, but couldn't really decide what to do. I know from experience that if I put the infusion set too far away from my bellybutton, then the cannula gets bent and I have to rip out the set and start over.

There have been influences to using a different site for me. One would be Kerri with her Six Until Me blog. Kerri often blogs about her site that is on her upper thigh. Another is a young lady that I go to church with. She uses the back of her upper arm most of the time.

Another influence is the build up of scar tissue on my stomach. I have some from the time of MDIs. It was easier for me to inject my stomach a lot of times, than to go to the restroom or another place and inject elsewhere. It has gone down some, but I don't want it to be worse in the future. Not that I have a flat stomach by any means, but I certainly don't want it anymore deformed than it is already.

So today was the day for me. I changed my set this morning, and for the first time, tried a thigh site. So far it has been okay. No bent cannula as of yet. I feel it a little more than I do the sites on my stomach, but I think it might be mental more than anything. Like right after you start with the pump & you always know that it is there.

So far, so good. We'll see how it works out. And maybe a thigh site will become more of the norm for me and give me the chance to better rotate my infusion sites.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Scary Moment

I had an interesting day yesterday. I woke up with a headache that felt surprisingly like a migraine I had one time. I was feeling like crap & took some headache medicine to try to keep it from getting any worse. About 2 hours after I took the medicine, the headache eased off. Thank God. But then severe heartburn set in right before my lunch. I am not sure why. I rarely, if ever, have heartburn. I did my best at lunch to eat a meal that was low in grease & other heartburn creating foods. It did okay, and that also eased off.

I had a chiropractor appointment that evening and left work a little early to get there in time. When I got there, I checked my blood sugar & was a little surprised to get a reading of 74. I turned my pump off and went on into the office. About 1/2 and hour later, when I got out of the appointment, my blood sugar was up to 86. I like numbers like that.

I went onto Wal-Mart to try to get an organizer for my closet. I didn't find the one I wanted, but I did find a book and a bag of peanut M & M's :D I went ahead and ate them and gave some insulin (not for the whole bag) because I knew I had an hour drive ahead of me and I didn't want my blood sugars to shoot through the roof before I got home.

Fast forward one hour: I got home and fixed myself dinner. A peanut butter & grape jelly sandwich on wheat bread. Yummm. When I checked my blood sugar it was 63!!!! YIKES! When did that happen? I ate first and waited about 35 minutes to bolus. I wanted to give my blood sugar time to come up. Two hours after my bolus my blood sugar was 53!!! What is going on?????? I don't have a clue. I don't know why this is happening. But I ate a zebra cake and didn't give any insulin at all. Yet another hour later my blood sugar is still in the 50s. I can't figure this out.

By this time I am laying on my couch trying my best not to fall asleep. I know it is because of the blood sugars, not because I am tired. My body on auto-pilot, I got a box of honey nut cheerios out of the cabinet and began to eat them straight from the box. All my thoughts are fuzzy. I can't make a coherent thought, I just know that I need to eat something. If I had been thinking coherently, I would have realized that I had juice boxes left over from teaching Sunday School sitting on my kitchen table. This would have taken care of the problem quickly.

One of my friends called me while I lay in my semi-coherent, cheerio eating state. She knew right away that something was wrong by the way I was talking. To say the least, I wasn't forming sentences that made much sense at all. She managed to get out of me what had been going on. That I had been fighting this demon low all evening and I was loosing at this point. She talked to me until I started making sense again & was able to check my blood sugar and it was at a safe 140.

Then she yelled at me. I love her for it. She told me that I should have called to let someone know that I was fighting the lows. "What would have happened if you had gone unconscious?" she asked. I didn't have any answers for her. I live alone. My family & friends call me frequently, but sometimes it may not be frequent enough to catch it if something was wrong.

I wanted to cry. Not because she yelled at me, but because I don't have any answers. And yes, it scares me. I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't been able to eat enough to get the blood sugar up. I was scared. For me, for my friends and family. I have lived alone for years. I don't know that I have ever had an episode that really bothered me emotionally like the one from last night. I was disturbed.

Maybe I should have a roommate. Maybe it isn't smart for me to live alone. I don't even like to think that. I am so independent and I have lived alone for the past 6 years, give or take a few months that I lived with a friend and her husband between jobs.

The ugly monster of diabetes reared it's head last night. No control and no reason for it. I wasn't sick. In fact, when I checked at midnight (on the orders from my dear friend with instructions to call her and let her know what the blood sugars were) I was 110 and this morning, due to over treatment, I was 364.
It was just weird. A fluke. Another thing with this crazy disease that can't be explained and can't be made to go away. No matter how perfect I try to be, it seems like there's always the times like last night that make it almost not worth it.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Unexpected Road Trips....

This cute little guy is a baby Pygmy Hippo. It's bigger now than it was in this picture, but I got to see it yesterday at the zoo in Louisville, Kentucky. He was all cute and lying next to his mother while she watched all the patrons of the zoo carefully.
Now, you ask, how did I end up at the Zoo this weekend? Well, it was most certainly and unexpected road trip.
Since my car accident a couple of weeks ago I have been going to a chiropractor three times a week. It is in the same town that I attended college and is about and hour from my house. One of my oldest and dearest friends lives there with her husband and their 8 month old son (who is the light of my life right now!). I stopped by after my appointment to say hello and to give my baby a kiss. I love that kid!
When I got there, they informed me that they were going to the zoo in Louisville and that I was coming with them. They only just decided to go and thought that I needed to go with them.
I had about a million things to do this weekend, other than take a six hour road trip to a zoo in another state. But, I went anyway, for old times sake. Old times being 2005 when they did the same thing to me, only we went to the Atlanta Zoo. Less than 2 hours notice and all.
All in all, I had a blast. We took lost of pictures, some of which I will be adding after I get them downloaded onto my computer.
The funny thing about this is that it was the first trip of any kind, other than to their parents' homes, that my friend and her husband had taken since the baby was born. So my friend was busy doing her verbal checklist:
Baby food: check
Baby spoon: check
Extra clothes: check
Diapers: check
Formula: check
Bottles: check
Juice: check
It was kind of funny on my part, because with so little notice to me leaving, I also had a verbal checklist that I went through:
Test strips: check
Glucose tabs: check
Cooler for insulin: check
Vitamins and other meds: check
The diabetes also behaved itself quite well for me. I checked by
blood sugar twice during the time we were in the zoo (about 3 hours). I was letting it run a little high: around 150, since it was 85 degrees outside and we were sweating like crazy. I didn't want to have a low and have to stop to treat it. But there were no major problems. No soaring highs, no scary lows, no malfunctioning infusion sets. I didn't forget anything I needed for the trip, and I didn't have any diabetes related catastrophe of any kind.
Other than the incessant testing, me and the diabetes got along well and basically called a truce for the day. It was almost like living life without diabetes....not that I would know what that is like.
On another note: anyone in the Louisville area should check out their zoo! It was awesome. Much better than the Atlanta Zoo in my opinion. Lots of animals, fun stuff for the kids. You can walk the zoo, ride the train, or take a tram (a little trolley bus). We walked, but if you have small children who are walking, it might be nice to give them a break by riding the train or tram.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I love my friends.

I usually post at night, but while I am home on lunch I just thought I would quickly give all my millions of readers (imagine me rolling my eyes on that one!) a few reasons why I love my friends.

This weekend I had a friend come to Tennessee from Washington, DC. She was visiting her brother for the weekend and with her only being a few hours from me, of course I had to go visit. I also took another friend with me.

I must say I had a blast! My friends make me laugh, they are great support, they tell me when I'm being an idiot, and they take care of me when I can't take care of myself.

I have more friends than the 2 in this picture, but these are the 2 I was with. We went shopping, we had lunch, and even hung out in a hot tub. Basically had lots of fun!

Here's the diabetes related part:

The tall one is my friend from DC. Her brother is a diabetic and also on a MiniMed pump. He was one of the first people I ever met that had a pump and that really helped me to get over my fear of "being attached" to something. She is always understanding and never complains if I say I have to eat or I'm low.

The other girl is also a friend from college. Her dad is a Type 2 diabetic but takes shots, along with some other meds. She understands and is always looking out for me. Sometimes she can even tell if my blood sugar is too high or low before I can. She's just another friend who doesn't judge, cares, and doesn't push me.

It's nice to have friends who can understand diabetes. They may not understand what it is like to have the disease, or to have to deal with it 24/7, but they understand because they have seen their loved ones deal with it. I don't have to explain everything diabetic to them. I don't have to give them Diabetic 101. They just understand. And that is nice.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Midnight & 3 AM

So, I went to bed last night with a wonderful blood sugar reading of 99. I decided this would be the perfect night to do a midnight test and a 3 am test. I set my phone to go off at both of these times, put my glucometer next to my pillow and laid the flashlight next to that. I do this because I am usually too out of it to get up and turn on the light to check my blood sugar. I have found it easier to get right back to sleep this way.
I remember my phone going off at midnight. And I thought I remembered checking my blood sugar. But my alarm clock went off this morning and I remembered that I hadn't heard the phone go off at 3 am. Weird. Then I looked at my glucometer and it showed I hadn't had a test since bedtime last night...guess I dreamed that midnight test.
As for the phone alarm that didn't go off at 3 am. Well, it looks like I turned my phone off in my sleep. Figures. We'll just have to try this again some other night.
At times like this I think I should have a roommate. To basically be sure I don't die during the night. But I have lived alone for so long I don't know if I could handle another roomie. And I always have friends who check on me. I also have a colleague at work who's husband is a Type 1 diabetic. She knows if I don't show up to work and I don't call that someone needs to check on me. I suppose that just my safety net.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

I want this bag. I am a bag and purse junkie. I love purses and suitcases and bags of all kinds. I have too many in my closet at this time. I have about a million under my bed. I have learned to nest my bags so that they take up less space in my already small apartment.
Ironically enough, I have been carrying the same purse since Christmas of 2005. I bought it on sale with Christmas money from my dad. I love it. But, it doesn't have room for all of my pump supplies.
Here's where the problem comes in. Previous to pumping, as long as a purse was big enough for my glucometer, it was big enough for me. Post pump, I have to carry two bags, or a larger bag. This is go I have at least two extra infusion sets, reservoirs, extra test strips, glucose tabs, the quick-serter, alcohol swabs, band-aids, and the million other things that I might need if I have a pump malfunction.
That's the part I hate. I have been cruising around on the Internet looking at diabetic websites and that's where I came across this purse. The aDorn bag. There is also a messenger type bag. I don't know that it will be exactly what I am looking for. Or that it will be worth the money that it costs. But I am thinking about asking for it for my birthday that is later this month. I want to see if it would be able to really meet all of my diabetic needs.....
If I get it, I will keep you all updated. If not, I may go into a design frenzy until I make a bag that really does work for me. We'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Happy Pump Day!

Happy Pump Day to me! Happy Pump Day to me! Happy Pump Day to meeeeeeeeeeeee! Happy Pump Day to me!!!! And many moooooorrrrrrree.

Okay, today is officially one year on the pump! Exactly 365 days ago I was getting used to this strange machine that was attached to me. A lifeline that feed me my lifesaving insulin, 24 hours per day. And a machine that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

The past year has been one of the best of my diabetic life. I have had my rough days. There are still ups and downs. Lows and highs. Days that you just want to cry your eyes out and curse this horrible disease. But in the past 12 months I have kept up a wonderful A1C that is getting better all the time. My health over all has improved and I have lost around 20 pounds. All the wonderful things that have taken place in the past 12 months has taken my mindset about diabetes and my outlook on life and totally turned it around.

I told a co-worker today that a person would have to take my insulin pump off my dead body, because I sure wasn't giving it up of my own accord. I know that the pump doesn't work for everyone. I understand that not all diabetics like the pump and there have even been some to try it and go back to MDIs. But I can promise you, short of something horrible and drastic making the pump financially impossible, I wouldn't give it up for anything.

This little machine that was the idea of Dr John Pickup has drastically changed the lives of many diabetics. And has drastically improved my life. If I could go back, I would have gotten an insulin pump years ago. But no worries, just taking what I have now and using it to the best of its ability (and mine) will help me for the rest of my diabetic life.
I don't say for the rest of my life because I still hold out hope for a cure. Insulin is NOT a cure, only a treatment. I believe that someone will stumble across a cure. Someone will have a idea sparked in their scientific mind and will be able to take this disease away from the millions of people that it effects. But until that day, I will be grateful for this machine that has turned my life around.
So happy pump day!