Carpe Diem Diabetic

I think one of the "easiest" ways of dealing with diabetes is keeping a consistent schedule.  Meals with the same carb values, routines with the same amount of activity, sleep and stress at consistent levels.  And honestly this is the best way to figure out basal rates and if you wanted the best possible levels then keeping everything around you "consistent" would be the way to go.  However, I don't know about you, but having consistent schedules and meals will eventually drive me, Stark. Raving. Mad.

You see, mentally, I thrive in high stress work environments.  I quite frequently "forget" to eat.  If its a choice to swing with my boys or check my blood for a low, I'd rather pop a few glucose tablets and keep swinging.  I guess you can call me a C.D.D., a Carpe Diem Diabetic.  That's right, I'm a seize the day kinda chick.  I think sometimes, we as diabetics, get so caught up in what could happen as far as complications that we forget to enjoy our lives, today.  

The truth is, we don't know how long we have on this planet.  I don't want to worry every single moment about my glucose levels or how a certain food will affect my night.  I don't want to feel guilty, because I chose to walk on a beautiful day and have a strawberry milkshake.  Or have regrets about eating an apple walnut salad , because now my blood sugars are crashing at an alarming rate.  Don't get me wrong, I know there are tricks to prevent these, cut my bolus, increase my bolus, switch my basals for increased activity or dual wave bolus for those problem foods.  I've used them all but sometimes, when your head is so full of numbers all day long, the last thing you want to do is jump through hoops for lunch.  I guess what it all comes down to is this, I may have 30 years or 30 minutes left in this life and when I walk up to those pearly gates, I don't want to have a single regret and that includes how I handled my diabetes. 

So I'm not going to worry about it.  I'm going to live my life and check my blood, but I am going to have a blast!

Trust issues...

Diabetes takes an enormous amount of trust.  Trust, that your doctors know what they are talking about.  Trust, that the insulin & pump will do their job correctly.  Trust, that the meter & CGM results are accurate.  Trust, that when all else fails, someone can step in if you need them.  This can put tremendous stress on a PWD and those that care for them.  Trusting a tool (ie CGM, Meter, Pump) or another person with your life is something many of us take for granted.  It isn't until those things fail that we see the bigger problems in the system.  

If there is a way to screw it up, I've done it.  Recently, I managed to pump approximately 30 units of insulin into myself by mistake.    Even though my pump has safety measures against this, I still managed to do this.  (Long story, just trust me on this.  Ha ha see what I did there.)  Yesterday, I fell asleep without reconnecting my pump and woke up very high, (and not in a good way).  My husband had decided to let me sleep and not test me before he went to bed.  And of course I wasn't wearing my CGM.  

Any PWD can attest to failures in the "system." Whether it's human error, insurance, improperly stored insulin or lack of understanding from doctors.  This may be why many of us are very independent and even stubborn about how to treat our Diabetes. Maybe in the back of our minds, we feel we can only depend on ourselves. 

In a way, this is a good thing. It promotes independence and self reliability. We can either learn to rely on ourselves or have faith that the "system" and safe guards we put in place will compensate for the unpredictability that can sometimes arise with D.  On the other hand, it can be incredibly lonely and overwhelming over time.  This can lead to depression, anxiety and feeling of hopelessness.  

How you go about handling it, is as unique to you as your Diabetes is.  For me, trusting "the system" and letting everything else go has been key to keeping myself going, even when it fails.  I tested, corrected and forgave myself for forgetting to reconnect last night.  And when I mistakenly over pumped? I did what I have never done before, I had an ice cream and milk shake fest.   Shit happens, but life will always go on.  Trust in yourself and try to do the best you can every day. Thats all anyone can ask for. 

 "Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess. Just breathe & have faith that everything will work out for the best." - unknown 

Love you Daddy!

So, as I did with Mother's Day, I thought I'd tell you a little about my dad.  Its hard to put into words how I feel about my Daddy.  It's true that my mom handled most of the day to day diabetes care, but some of my fondest diabetes memories involve dad.  I spent a week in the hospital when I was diagnosed. I remember dad would visit after work and he'd say, "Lets sneak out of here."  We'd tiptoe to the elevator & ride to a balcony that overlooked the city and we'd just stand there for a while and "hide" from the doctors.  Then we'd come back and dad would proudly tell mom that I recognized all the numbers in the elevator.  I don't really remember the needles or the doctors, but I remember dad and our elevator rides.  

As mom focused on keeping me healthy, dad focused on other aspects of my life.  He was the one who corrected my essays and math problems.  He'd stay up discussing politics and social issues with me.  As I look back, he always tried to show me all angles of an issue, not just the one he thought were right.  He wanted me to form my own opinion independently, even if it disagreed with his.  He also taught me that sometimes, there could be many solutions to a problem.

Everyday he shows me that respect is earned and should not be taken lightly, regardless of socioeconomic background or race or religion.  He has shown me the importance of helping others and when they do well, everyone is better because of it.   He taught me that intelligence does not equal education.  He taught me that no matter my "standing" in life, no one is better or worse than me, but to always stay humble.  He was the one who said, I can achieve anything in life.  It may not be easy, it may take a lot of sacrifice and hard work, but if I wanted it bad enough, nothing could stand in my way, not even Diabetes. 

I guess the best way to describe my dad is this quote:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.  -Corinthians

Happy Fathers Day everyone!!

Allergy!!!!! Damn you!!!

So I have these persistent hives all over my body. I finally went to see an allergist. They performed all the normal food skin test and I tested negative for all except crabs & almonds. Neither of which I eat very often.  The doc started asking questions; How long had I had these symptoms? (6 months) Did I ever have itchy ears? (Um yea for years.) What drugs was I taking? (Insulin and a multivitamin supplement.) 

After about half hour of questioning he said he thought the hives may be caused by an allergy to insulin.  These are not the words I was hoping to hear.  He said I was a "special case" because he hadn't seen an insulin allergy in 15 years.  WTF?? I'm getting tired of being everyone's special case!! Why can't I just have a normal food allergy???  Nooooooo, I have to be allergic to the one thing I can not eliminate from my life.  (Have you ever seen Kindergarten Cop with Arnold Schwarzenegger? There's a little girl that stomps her foot and exclaims, "But I'm a fairy princess!" That's how I picture myself in the "why me" moments.)

He went on to explain, that he thought I was allergic to the preservative in the insulin.  Which is funny because that preservative, is in every type of liquid fast acting insulin. He suggested switching to Afreeza or the inhalable insulin.  Although, he knew his stuff and I could tell he had put in a lot of effort, I was like "Sure lets just switch from an insulin pump (I've been using for 20 YEARS) to inhalable insulin."  With a less sarcastic tone, I explained that if I switched to Afreeza, I'd have to take long acting insulin too.  The last time I was on shots, Lantus wasn't even out yet and I don't think pens were either.  This for me would be a HUGE adjustment.  Add that to a new job and a new schedule???

So it ended up with two choices, 1) Continue taking 2 different antihistamines & a steroid cream to combat the itchy hives, which hasn't worked that great, or 2) Switch to  Afreeza and change the whole regimen I'd been following for the past 20 years.  

Neither decision is easy & both have risks. Did you guess what I picked? That's right,  I sent off an email to my endo explaining my predicament and if she could prescribe me Afreeza.  I'm hoping to hear her thoughts tomorrow.  I will keep you posted!

Infections suck

Lately, I've been putting my pump insertion on my upper hip/back area.  I like that its in the back, because its more easily hidden by clothing.  However, since it's behind me, I don't notice if there is any trouble brewing either.

I'd been higher than normal all week, but I thought it was due to stress from starting my new job.  However, on Saturday morning I woke up in the 300's with no obvious reason.  I decided to change my site a few hours early, thinking the insulin may have gone bad.  When I ripped out the infusion set, my skin was really warm & irritated.  I pressed on it and there was a hard lump underneath the site.  "Great," I thought, "I have an infection."  Every once in a while, I get them and they are no big deal.  Usually, I use an antibiotic cream and by the next day it's cleared up.  But by that afternoon, the site had become painful to the touch.  I knew this one was different. 

Although my glucose levels were back to normal, the redness had spread to about triple the original size and I had a slight temperature.  I called my doc to let them know what was going on, and asked for a script for oral antibiotics.  Afterwards, I used warm compresses at the site and then cleaned it.  

Its still there, in all it red & lumpy glory, but it doesn't hurt anymore and it's already much smaller.  I guess the moral of my story today is, check your pump sites often.  Something so minor, can turn serious pretty fast. 

I Got the Job...now what?

I found out I got the job, I discussed in my Onward & Upward...Maybe post.  Which is great, hooray for me! On the other hand it brings a whole new set of challenges into my life.  Now I'll be working five days a week, walking a lot more & I'll have a set schedule.  This might actually work in my favor with D.  Since I have a normal schedule I can fine tune basal rates, which will allow for more "stable" blood sugar levels.

That being said, I will be a whole lot more active.  Then there is the whole getting to know people stage.  Did I mention I was an introvert?  This part is the worst for me.  The stress of getting to know people, in a new place and a new job produces its own anxiety.  This is a recipe for a bad low.

 Its important to tell coworkers I have diabetes, for that "Just in case" moment.  The one time I didn't tell my boss I was diabetic, I woke up in a side room of a major networking event, I had planned, with a pissed off boss and a glass of OJ.  (Mom had a bad feeling and called to check on me.  I sounded drunk on the phone and hung up on her.  She called my coworker and told her I was low.  The co-worker told my boss and they pulled me aside and took care of me. But I scared the shit out of all of them.  He wasn't mad I went low at a major event, he was mad I didn't tell him I had diabetes.  Lesson learned)  On the other hand, the event itself was a big success...

Deciding who to tell and when, is always tricky for me.  I don't hide it,  my pump is clipped to my pocket, but I don't advertise it either.  Usually after a few days, I tell a coworker, "If you see me acting a little "off" just hand me a juice and I'll be fine.  No big deal."  But its those few days before I tell anyone, when everything and everyone is new, that stress me out.  But this time, I have a new weapon in my arsenal. This time I have my CGM in the cloud.  This time I can go confidently to work and kick a little ass as my hubby keeps an eye on levels from his job.  That being said #wearenotwaiting