Friday, April 27, 2012

The Plan to Fix the Problem

So the past 6 to 8 months have been somewhat of a struggle for me. I've been laying down on the job, so to speak. Diabetes burnout takes many forms, but for me it's been nagging and ongoing in a way that I'm done dealing with.

As most of you know, my blogging has taken a back seat to other things in my life. My time on twitter (at least my "diabetes" account) has been less and less. This is an outward sign of what's been going on my in my head for a while.

I don't really feel like dealing with diabetes. I do it. I wear my cgms and my insulin pump. I count carbs (most of the time). I test. I keep juice w/ me in case of a low. I don't mess around. HOWEVER, I've been paying less and less attention to the little things. It's like I went from micro managing to just....managing.

Sure, you can survive on managing. You can stay out of the hospital. Stay relatively healthy. But is it good enough? Not for me. And it's time to stop.

My kicker happened this week. I had an appointment at my diabetes clinic with my nurse practitioner. They did my a1c again. And for the second time in 12 months, my a1c was over 7. I don't like to compare numbers. I don't like to make people feel bad (or feel bad myself). But for me, 7 is my stop point. Since I started pumping insulin 6 years ago I've had only 3 a1c results that were 7 or above. Like I said, this isn't to make anyone feel bad, but this is MY standard (remember that your diabetes may vary).

After having a very successful meeting with my nurse practitioner, we made a plan. My biggest problem of late has been depending too much (sometimes always) on my cgms, instead of confirming with blood sugar checks. Another large problem is snacking or eating and bolusing (or SWAGing) on what was on my cgms, instead of testing.

Solution: a temporary hiatus from cgms. Mostly to force myself to test my blood sugar more. Yesterday was my first day without cgms. I usually have a day here and there that I go without. Today though was my bigger test (no pun intended). Day two without cgms.

Since I'm more out of practice with regular testing of my blood sugar (not just before meals), I've set several alarms on my insulin pump to remind me to test. It's helped me. Last night, I set my phone to alarm me around 2:30 am so I could do a middle of the night test. Tonight, I'll do it again.

I live alone and I FULLY believe that cgms can save lives, including my own. But much like it can save my life, I also believe that it can be a downfall, if used incorrectly. And that's what I've chosen to go off of my cgms for a little while. At this point, I'm only thinking a few weeks. Maybe around two or three weeks.

At that point, perhaps I'll find myself less reliant on my cgms for major information, and more used to having it used for the reason it was intended: to show me trends and warn me before lows and highs so that I can test and treat accordingly.

So, I ask for your help. Send prayers for me, since living alone with diabetes can be scary at times, and even more scary without cgms. And send me strength to put myself back where I need to be so that I can go back on my cgms AND get my a1c back in the range that I feel most comfortable in.

My favorite part about my appointment at my diabetes clinic, however, was a quote on the wall in the nurse's office. A quote that I believe all of us should live by and that I've taken to heart when dealing with this time in my diabetes life:

Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. - Plato

I think we should all live by this quote, as well as all of our health care providers. The fact that this was on the wall of my diabetes clinic lets me know that they are NEVER going to berate me for my current status in my health, but will only encourage me to work harder. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Having My Fears Calmed: The Eye Appointment

This post is actually way, way overdue. Back a couple of years ago there was bleeding found in both of my eyes. The thing that every person with diabetes dreads hearing. I was determined to get a second opinion for a couple of reasons. The biggest one was that I'm paranoid. Bleeding in my eyes is something that I have dreaded for years. When they found it, I wanted to be sure that everything was really as okay as my eye doctor said it was. The fact that he was an optomitrist and not an opthamologist was also an issue with me.

But, I put off seeing an opthamologist for a year. Mostly because I was scared about what he would say. But I did it, and the opthamologist set my mind at ease about how my eyes were progressing (they weren't getting worse) and about what the future might hold (the bleeding could stay exactly the same for years before any more progression shows up). And then he told me that it would be find to continue to see an optomitrist once a year unless I noticed a change in my vision.

Back about a month ago was my yearly eye appointment and I went back to the optomitrist this time. The thing about my optomitrist, who I'll call Dr. Y for "young", is that I went to school with him. He is younger than me. He was always a nice person, from what I remember, but I had some mental issues to deal with in regards to trusting him. It's wrong of me. It makes me an ageist, I suppose. But it is what it is.

This most recent visit really put my mind at ease when dealing with Dr. Y. Dr. Y put my mind at ease. I talked to him about going to see the opthamologist (who is with the same practice, in a different town). I talked with him about my diabetes control (and lack of in college). We talked about the specific areas of bleeding in my eyes.

And then he took pictures of the back of my eyes. When he was done, he didn't put them in my file and send me on my way. He sat down with me, showed me exactly where the areas were. How they related to my vision. Which areas were of the most concern and why.

I'm not sure if he realized it, but by taking the time to SHOW me what he was looking at and explaining it to me, Dr. Y won me over and put my mind at ease all at once. If more doctors (regardless of age) took the time to talk with their patients the way Dr. Y did with me, we'd have a better health care system all the way around.

The final score: my eyes haven't changed in the past couple of years. The bleeding is there, but doesn't appear to be changing. Yearly visits are okay for now. And the standard "check in if anything changes" was the final prognosis. I feel I can sleep easy and breath deeply and smile.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Instant Friends...just add water (or coffee)

I've never been exactly good at meeting new people. I tend to be slightly awkward and uncomfortable when it comes to people I've never met before. I've gotten better in recent years and I owe a lot of thanks to the D-OC for that.

The thing about meeting new people online is that the instant awkward meeting is almost nullified by the safety of the internet. We get to know each other before every meeting each other. Each time I've been blessed to meet someone from online in an offline setting, there's no awkwardness. Just instant friends.

A little over a week ago I was blessed to get to meet another person from the D-OC. Victoria Cumbow is a fellow blogger and tweeter that I've gotten to know over the last year or so.

Through our online interactions I discovered that she grew up not too far from where I did (a little over an hour away) and that we both travel to Nashville on a fairly frequent basis.

We tried to meet up a few months ago, but it fell through, but when Victoria knew quite a bit ahead of time about an appointment in Nashville, I immediately requested the day off from work so that we could get together. We met up for coffee and breakfast and then, after Victoria's appointment, met up again for lunch and shopping.

I never seem to run out of things to talk about with d people, but with some, there's a more instant connection. Perhaps it's because we're close to the same age. Perhaps it's because we were raised in the same area of the country and state. Perhaps it's because we share similar religious beliefs. Or that we have a similar sense of humor. Victoria and I fell into an easy and almost instantaneous friendship that was planted in diabetes, but rooted in so many other things.

I love when diabetes isn't the center of a conversation, but can still happen naturally. That always seems to be the case with my friends from the D-OC. And a day with Victoria was no different. It wasn't unusually for diabetes to creep into the conversation, but it didn't happen often. We shared other things and talked about other things. But when diabetes did come up, it didn't have to be explained. It just was.

Side note: If you get the chance to meet Victoria, do it. She's a blessing and a light in the D-OC and in life.