Tag Archives: diabetes

The Realizes, or, Things I’m Remembering While Navigating the Mid-20’s

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Sometimes life just makes me feel this way.

Blog no longer abandoned, just rarely tended to, I am starting to come back around. And while I realize that maybe this whole mess of the 20’s will be one big black hole when I come out of it, at least, knowing that I still have three and a half good years left before I hit that dreaded 3-0 point, that the whole experience, albeit stressful and downright crazy, will be something I look back on triumphantly, and say, “Hey, I did that.” 

Tidbits on my mind tonight: 

  1. Diabetes may be a little sh*t, but it’s easier if you do. 

So somehow over the last 5 months I managed to drop my A1C by almost 3%. Last summer it was at a 10. Over a 10. If you don’t know anything about diabetes, a ten is bad. I was scrounging to buy insulin and I was stretching it to its limits. When I quit using my pump it took me a good while before I actually broke down and got a script for lantus. You can imagine how that went. But just taking insulin, eating better, exercising, and testing my blood sugar, not even really “trying,” or even obsessing, got my A1C down to a 7.7. And I feel good. And even though at the time even taking insulin on time and frequently sounded like a scary thing at the time, it’s now just what I do. And it’s OK. And I can do it. Maybe my denial days are over, though I’m sure they’ll return. But for now, I’m gonna tell myself that I am worth taking care of. 

  1. Sometimes jobs are just jobs, and that’s okay. 

So working in the travel industry sounds fun and glamorous, and I’ll admit that I’ve learned a lot about the industry and, as Tom lovingly reminds me, have turned into a “hotel snob.”  But sales is not necessarily a fun thing to do. Sometimes it’s downright awful, especially when it’s over the phone where people feel, much like the internet, that you aren’t really a person and hurting your feelings is OK. But it’s teaching me to be less offended, which is somehow helping my self esteem? I digress. More on this at a later date, but for now, I’m making a paycheck, paying my bills, and if I don’t live to get up and go to work in the morning, that’s OK. It doesn’t have to be forever. 

  1. Mountaintop moments wouldn’t exist if they happened all the time. 

    So I have all these memories from high school and college that make me extremely happy, most involve sitting outside with a big group of friends singing songs, and almost none involve beer (except a couple). I feel like I don’t have these experiences anymore. Remembering them makes me feel sad, and old. But just because they aren’t happening with the frequency doesn’t mean that they won’t ever happen, and it doesn’t take away from the defining nature of those moments and times in my life. If anything it tells me three things that define who I am and what I love: being outside in the evening, being with good people, and music. Knowing those things I can look for opportunities to create these moments, and treasure them when they happen.

  2. We are still young, but not as young. 
    Sometimes I’ll joke about feeling old, or getting old. Facts remain I am older than I have ever been. But so are you. Just because I hang out with 22 year olds sometimes doesn’t make 26 “old.” I am still young, but yes, I have to get up and go to work in the morning, and yes, I have to pay my rent, and no, I can’t stay out drinking until 1am three times a week and still manage to do these things. So I will still enjoy moments when I feel young, I will still relish in the fact that I am still (legally) single and childless, but I will still be in bed by midnight so I can actually function like  a human being. 
  3. Love isn’t easy. 
    And I don’t mean just romantic love. Loving yourself is hard. Especially when you have things constantly thrown at you saying you aren’t good enough (cough*media*cough). You aren’t skinny enough, or curvy enough, or fit enough, or smart enough, or you don’t have enough. But if you don’t love yourself, you will continue on this miserable existence and eventually nobody will want to be around you. So if you’re extroverted like me, you better learn to love yourself or you will hate yourself more. Because you’re OK. You’re just a human, and you make mistakes and you can’t expect to be perfect. 
    And yes maybe I’m taking about romantic love, because your 20s are crazy in this factor, and in today’s world if you’re not engaged by the time you graduate from college chances are you will go though a string of not-so-good relationships before you actually settle down. You are not abnormal. But when you do find someone you kind of like, and want to like, hang out with a lot, you should realize it’s actually going to take a lot of work to make that work. 
  4. If you hate your life, change it. 
    Like for a while there, I seriously hated my life with a burning searing passion. Then I realized I had two choices: I could learn to enjoy where I was and what I was learning, or I could change my life. The only option that I wouldn’t allow myself to take was the one that kept me where I was. So now, yes there may be something on the horizon that will change my life completely. Some things WILL be changing, and soon, and some things might stay the same, but either way I plan on doing my best to be OK with whatever happens.   
  5. And it’s OK to be sad or lonely sometimes, because you are human. 
    Understand that emotions are emotions, and they aren’t always “good” or “bad.” 

 

Another Post on What It’s Like (unedited)

Part of the reason I’ve been gone so long has been because I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy on losing weight and getting fit, and I’ve been blogging about that over on tumblr. But I kind of accidentally wrote a rare long tumblr post today that fits better over here, with diabetes. So I’m copypasta-ing it over here so that more people who actually find it relevant will see and read and hopefully gain something from it. 

 

I REALLY hope my new Endocrinologist can help me tomorrow!

This is a really long post, and it’s about an issue most of you fitness gurus don’t even have to deal with, but it’s relatable to other problems you may have if you suffer from depression, asthma, anxiety, or any other chronic illness that makes you feel awful a good part of the time. 

(An endocrinologist specializes in hormone related illnesses, which include diabetes, which I have, type 1). 

Let me tell you guys a little bit about how I feel when my blood sugar is out of whack. 

Lately I have been running way too high, higher than normal. A normal blood glucose range is 80-120, or 80-140 if you have type 1 diabetes. 

My particular blood sugars have been running about 160-400. 

This makes you feel all kinds of different ways, but the majority of the ways are exausted, lathargic, irritated, sore, pissed, angry, sleepy, heavy, headachey, bleh, hit by a truck, can I please just go to sleep now, get the fuck out of my way i need some water, why do I have to pee so much, why won’t this goddamn headache go away, why do my legs hurt I haven’t worked out in days, where is the saltiest snack I can find, where is the sweetest snack I can find, why am I so fucking thirsty, why did I just go through two liters of diet coke and a gallon of water, where the fuck is the milk? Oh yeah I don’t eat dairy, so I’ll go out and buy some milk ways. 

And yes. Sorry mom, grandma, dad, aunt, whoever is reading this, but when your blood sugar is 300 when you wake up at 6:30 am, after having an excellent reading of 84 when you went to sleep, then it makes you curse. It makes you say the F word and not give to f words about who hears you or what they think of you. 

I am not exactly sure how it got to this point. I’m sure it was a combination of going off my insulin pump, of constantly running out of and not being able to afford insulin and the stress that comes with that, followed by an ER visit which  no, I did not tell my parents or facebook or even my friends about because I didn’t want anyone to worry about me. 

Diabetes is similar to obesity in that everyone everywhere, your family, your doctors, medical science in general, tells you that it is YOUR FAULT YOU GOT THIS WAY. HOW COULD YOU HAVE DONE THIS TO YOURSELF. YOU ARE NOW GOING TO HAVE A HEART ATTACK, LOSE A LEG, GO BLIND, AND LOSE A KIDNEY SIMULTANEOUSLY. And you feel shame and grief and if you are a perfectionist like I am, you give up. 

Yep, in a lot of ways my diabetes struggles have been similar to my weight struggles. Up and down. Good and bad. Get the A1C (a test that shows an average of your blood sugars over the last 3 months) under 8 and then it pops back up to 9 before you know it. Throw in the added bonus that because of changing insurance I haven’t seen an endo in over a year, and voila! My A1C is nearly 10 (it should be under 8, for those non-diabetic knowing people who might have taken the time to read this long and ranty post. Thanks, btw). 

So if not feeling like doing ANYTHING (including get out of bed to find my meter and insulin and actually treat myself) and feeling like this is all my own fault and not knowing what else to do to fix it is any indicator of my level of anxiety going into this appointment with a new doctor tomorrow, well, take that level and multiply it by at least 5. 

It’s kind of strange though, to be anxious for an actual reason. It’s not an empty feeling of anxiety for no reason like it is when I suffer from attacks. It’s just a general feeling of, I really want to get this over with and I better either feel confident in myself and my doctor when I come out, or be prepared to find another doctor because God knows I am not tolerating anyone who makes me feel worse about my self care or myself. I’ve been working really hard to eat right and exercise and test my blood sugar more often and I will not let those accomplishments get thrown out the window for whatever this lady has to say about me. (I have no indication that this will even occur, but it is what I am terrified of: a long lecture about how I’m destroying my body and if I could just do better everything will be alright. Save it. I am fully aware). 

I guess in the end I know that around 10:30 tomorrow morning I will either have some sort of plan of action to go from here. Because in spite of what may happen in the long term, I know I can’t go on living like this in the present. I need to feel good and be myself for my job. I can legitimately blame some of my struggles there on how I feel, especially early in the morning. I need to feel good in order to continue to work out and meet my goals of running a 5k in less than a month and riding 150 miles on a bike in less than six months. And I need to feel better just to feel better about myself. I know I can do this. I also know I need support. I need to not let my attitudes about the american health care system, or doctors in general, or the way diabetics are treated get in the way of having an open mind and of ultimately helping myself. 

Because I Can Do This. And I know I can, and giving up is not an option. 

Not now, not ever. 

 

Seriously, I just want to be cool.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember writing.  I started writing short stories when I was little, kept journals off and on, and countless times started (and sometimes, finished) “novels” about my daydreams (primarily about boys) when I was in jr. high and high school. I’ve been blogging since the early high school days, using old standards like Free Open Diary and Xanga, back when those sites were cool and everybody used them to gossip about one another and talk about our new boyfriends.

I never really thought about blogging about diabetes until I “accidentally” stumbled across the DOC two summers ago and realized, ‘Hey, I’m like, living with this thing that is pretty complicated and hard but also kind of entertaining.’ And I never wanted to blog about depression (Because OMG my future employers are probably reading this as we speak! HI GUYS, HIRE ME!) until I realized how common it actually is in America (a veritable mental health crisis comparable to the obesity epidemic – maybe related to – there is a thesis topic for you) and if an employer didn’t realize that a high percentage of his or her employees is probably already dealing with this disease and their company is functioning quite well, thank you very much, then I didn’t really want to work for them anyway. (Whew. Run-ons are my specialty).

But seriously, I just want to be cool.

No, I don’t have a personalized URL or any fancy advertisers and no, I don’t come up on the first page when you google “diabetes blogs.”  But all I want to do is become a certified diabetes educator and write and talk to people about diabetes for a living.  Is that so much to ask?

I even went so far as to list Sarahndipity as my employer on my facebook page. Heck, even my neglected LinkedIn profile focuses on my work in the diabetes community.

The bottom line is, living with diabetes isn’t easy. No one has all the answers, and that’s really the message I want to send. The whole damn thing is about trial and error, over and over again, and it’s a bit of a far reach for a perfectionist like myself. (Hear that, future employers? My weakness right there in grey and white – now you can skip that awkward question in my interview). (But it’s ok if you don’t).  But that’s the whole point of d-blogging, right? To let others know that they are not alone in their frustrations and idiosyncrasies that come with having a chronic illness?

Ron Burgundy is kind of a big deal. People know him.

Sometimes, we just have to remind ourselves of that. The reason we’re here, the reason we wake up at 5am and can’t sleep because we have too many bloggy thoughts floating around in our brains (well, I mean, I do that).

I mean, this isn’t 2001. There are a lot of bloggers out there in the interweb world. And, for now, I don’t feel like I stand out. But honestly, I don’t have to be kind of a big deal (although I wouldn’t mind it), so long as I am helping people along the way.

That’s the most important thing, right?

Sarahndipidous Awards 2010 and a Happy New Year!

I am back! It only took me seven more days than I expected originally, but I made it safe and sound back to the frozen tundra of the West- and I do mean FROZEN – it was -20 degrees F when I woke up yesterday morning!

More on my travel adventures later. Because I was sans computer last week, I did not get to do any end-of-year blogging like everyone else did. So I am going to do it now! Oh, come on, you know you aren’t sick of it yet!

THE FIRST ANNUAL SARAHNDIPIDOUS AWARDS – 2010

(just a note: most of these awards go to myself. Either because I’m conceited or because I don’t want to leave anyone out so I leave no one in. But also because I am really too lazy to look though anyone else’s blog except my own.)

Catchiest New Blog Title: Do you really have to ask?

The Best Diabetes Buddy: Carb Counting Monkey.

The Legislation that Changed my Life: The Health Care Bill. It gave me two more years of insurance when I had only 11 months left.

Best Advice of the Year: Just Keep Swimming.

Biggest UberFail of the Year: Medco. They fail a lot.

Biggest Surprise of the Year: A tie between getting a random bottle of Diet Grape Soda from my cousin in Florida and getting invited to Roche.

Most Random and Hilarious (yet painful for one) D-Meet Up of the Year: Being in the emergency room with LeAnn and Cherise just hours after LeAnn and I first met. We vlogged.

Coolest Cousin with T1 Diabetes: My cousin Savannah, who had her second successful diabetes pregnancy this year. (Yes, that means she had a baby).

Most Dangerous Handbag: Mine. And probably most of those carried by PWD women (or men, I don’t judge).

Most Unholy Digital Symbol: The Up Arrow gets a close second, following the Double Up Arrow, of course.

Best Meal I Had All Year: Remember when my dad cooked up this delicious Blueberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad? Mmm… my mouth is watering just thinking about it (although I think it’s best saved for warmer weather, unless I pair it with some soup).

Most Insane Decision: Abandoning projects I had planned at home to head West to Utah and take on a fantastic-turned-frozen internship at Dinosaur National Monument. How crazy is that? I’m in Northeastern Utah. In January. And it’s 0 degrees as I type this. Fahrenheit.

Most Creative Awareness Idea: Surely no one can forget the first annual D-Art Day, which took place September 1 this year. I am pretty proud of how my project turned out!

Best Siblings of PWD: Of course my brothers would win this one.

Most Creative Way to Package Blood Sugar Spike Inducing Coworker Gifts: Infusion set boxes

Most Persistent Traveler Award: I would give it to myself, although those people who were stuck in New York certainly deserve it as well. Stay tuned for the story!

Now You Tell Me: What awards would you give yourself for 2010?

And HAPPY NEW YEAR!  

The Idiocy of a Diabetes Civil War

Ever since this article came out concerning what I can legitimately see outsiders calling “the diabetes civil war” in the blogosphere, there has been some discussion. This post was originally a comment on Renate’s post at The Diabetic Duo. Renate is the mother of two type 1’s.

The article basically talks about people who want a new name for the disease, people who get angry and frustrated at assumptions that they have type 2 diabetes or can treat their type 1 like it’s type 2 diabetes, and the frustrations of both types of diabetes.

Stereotypes of type 2’s hurt type 2’s too. And while I get frustrated living with the comments I receive, especially being an overweight type 1, I wouldn’t want to live with type 2 either. It’s not an “either, or” it’s a “we’re all in this together.” I enjoy talking to type 2’s about their management. My favorite thing is when they ask me about taking insulin, and I am able to share with them the freedom insulin therapy brings!

In my opinion, the article doesn’t describe either type of diabetes very well. It does not use the terms “insulin resistance” “auto immune” or “beta cells” at all. That, from a scientific perspective, is frustrating because I feel as though they are misinforming their readers on important issues.

The fact is, people don’t care about curing type 1 until it affects them directly. I think that type 2 exposure is helping, somewhat. But people don’t talk about curing type 2, they talk about preventing obesity. They talk about starting programs in schools and they talk about taking personal responsibility for your health. Type 1 gets washed by the wayside. I have written before about “life like a type 2” for type 1’s. I try to think that way about myself sometimes. Yes, I can eat that, but I shouldn’t, no one should really eat a double cheeseburger with an extra large fries and a fried pie or giant milkshake for desert. Who’s that good for? A salad would be less likely to spike my blood sugar, and repeatedly choosing that salad would make my A1C better and lessen my chance for complications. The exact same thing applies to type 2’s. After Thanksgiving dinner, I went for a walk and I was only stuck in the 200’s for about an hour rather than all afternoon. It’s not typical type 1 behavior, but it works. We can learn from each other. Similar to the way I try to learn from type 2’s, type 2’s can learn from type 1’s.My good friend Bob is a type 2. He once told me that he pays attention to our type 1 talk in the D.O.C. sphere because, being that t2 is a degenerative disease, he knows he may be taking insulin, counting carbs, and fighting lows one day and he wants to know how to handle it now so he is ready for the shock.

As far as the name similarity goes, it bothers me from merely a scientific aspect. The disease is caused by different things and yet is treated as the same disease. Beyond that I am not concerned. I know how to defend myself from people who assume I have type 2 because I am overweight. I would never have animosity towards type 2 diabetes. Sometimes people in the DOC compare diabetes to AIDS. That’s an interesting comparison, because for so long people living with AIDS were seen as having done something wrong in order to contract the disease (and in many cases still are looked down upon). Type 2 is looked at similarly, only perhaps with less social stigma. I won’t get into that, but blaming someone for a disease they have even if it was manifested because of a destructive lifestyle is wrong and harms that person. There is no cure for AIDS, but with the correct medication, people who are HIV positive are living longer than ever. There is no cure for either type of diabetes, but if managed correctly, you can live with diabetes for a very long time.

The point is, we’re all in this together. I blog because I have type 1 diabetes, and if it means something to someone with type 1 diabetes, that’s great! I’m so glad. But I know that there are more people in the world living with type 2 diabetes, and certainly hope and pray that it means something to them as well.

Thanksgiving Hike

So, how do you tame those Thanksgivng blood sugars? I’ll tell you how I found out… my friends and I decided to go for a two mile hike in 20 degree weather! Pictures:

Starting out on the trail. There was some snow. It was so pretty!

Me looking dorky

What's that up there?

ANIMAL TRACKS! Mule Deer, specifically. Or Reindeer?

The Payoff!

More Payoff! Gorgeous!

We found a rock my neighbor calls "CD Stack Rock"

We decided to climb it!

surfing sandstone?

Thumbs Up.

Starting Blood Glucose: 223

Ending Glucose: 82.

Nothing short of awesome.

Frustration and Anger are Part of Diabetes, too.

Without going into too much personal detail, I’ll offhandedly mention I’m talking to a new guy. Late night phone conversations during Diabetes Awareness Month and during my own campaign to tame my 200+ blood sugars would inevitably lead the conversation to the diabetes topic.

Last night, I became very frustrated. It wasn’t that he wasn’t being understanding, he was. It was that I was having trouble finding the way to put into words how handling diabetes affects me mentally, how it’s more than just taking medication and watching your diet, how it’s every hour every minute every second of the day thinking about how I’m feeling, what my meter says, how much insulin is left in my pump, what I’m eating, how each and every activity will affect my blood sugar, am I drinking enough water? Do I have ketones? Do I need some glucose tabs? Is that stomach ache because my blood sugar is rapidly falling or because I am headed in the direction of DKA?

Needless to say, getting on the topic of Things that Frustrate me About Diabetes made me, well, angry.

I know I’m not the only person who has been there. The thoughts of, “Why me? Why is MY pancreas broken? How is this fair? How is this even right?” began flooding my mind and I started crying. Crying, on the phone! I silently prayed that it would all be taken away from me, knowing my prayers were in vain. At least, for now.

I can’t express the anger and frustration I felt last night, that I feel anytime I think about the “bigger picture.” Fact is, anger and frustration are typical parts of living with any type of chronic or terminal illness. And while I can’t understand how people with cancer feel, last night I was feeling like Diabetes is terminal. You can do everything right and still wind up with complications, still wind up dying prematurely. I can’t get these thoughts out of my head sometimes. I want kids. I want a family. I want to grow old with my future husband. I want to live to see my grandchildren. Most people want these things, but most people take it for granted that they will happen – I can only pray every day that they will happen.

I’m sorry to write such a downer post during Diabetes Awareness Month. But awareness- awareness means bringing more people to understanding about the disease. This disease can be killer physically – both in the “Oh, that workout was killer” “oh, that high blood sugar was killer” sense and the literal, “you’re dead from diabetes” sense. But it also takes its toll emotionally and physically. Sometimes I doubt God made me strong enough to be able to handle it, especially when bouts of “the other D” are thrown in with it.

All I can do, being as I’m not a scientist, is ask for your support and support from my own means as much as I can. Today I want to do that by urging you, again, to be a part of Diabetes Research Internationals’ “Be a Part of the Cure” program. Have ten bucks? You can support an organization largely believed to be our best hope for a cure AND upload a photo of yourself or someone you love with diabetes to the “CURE” collage. It’s an awesome project. I hope every letter gets filled with tiny photos. And I hope one of them is yours.