5 Things I wish people knew about living with Diabetes…

Let’s get right to it. Diabetes is difficult. Like, really difficult. It can be managed, yes. However, the emotional, physical, and mental state this illness can leave you in is pure craziness. One minute you’re completely in control and then you eat something, or go for a jog, or start stressing about the new promotion at work and then bam! You’re on a full blown diabetes roller coaster you never asked to be on.

This illness is hectic, tedious, and unruly. Even on the days you have massive control it isn’t because you were carefree. It takes patience beyond measure, commitment, and a whole lot of will power. I’m not speaking for everyone but my personal relationship with diabetes is a love hate one. I hate it, and it loves to hate me right back. The scars left behind by depression, anxiety, and just an overall fear of all the what if’s is enough to make a person want to scream. This illness is no joke, even though I try to make light of living with it. I do this because if I don’t laugh, even just a little, I would live in a funk.

So I’ve compiled five things I wish people knew about living with type one diabetes.

  1. I wish people knew that even though I am smiling on the outside, inside I am always freaking out. Are my numbers alright? I feel weird, why? I’m so thirsty…is my glucose high? What if I pass out from a low glucose and it’s just me and my kids? Why was my A1c so high? What am I doing wrong? I am constantly having to stay a few steps ahead of diabetes or it will catch me and make sure I fall hard. The truth is that Diabetes is a monster. It doesn’t care about anything.
  2. I wish people knew that it takes so much to stay in control of this. Maybe I make this look easy but it is far from it. Just thinking about being in charge of a drug that could potentially kill me is kind of a mind explosion. I’m not a doctor and yet I have to administer this drug to myself daily. Of course with out it I could die. So there really isn’t a grey area. I either do what I have to or I’m gone.
  3. I wish people knew that I didn’t do this to myself. None of us woke up one day asking to be diabetics. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. The fear alone of what could happen, or what is inevitable, is depressing. It can eat away at your sanity if you let it. I could fall asleep and never wake up. I could go into a coma. One day my kidneys could go on a permanent vacation, I know quite a few diabetics on dialysis already. Organs can decide not to work. I mean the list goes on. Not to mention I could lose feeling in my feet. People have had to get fingers, toes, even limbs amputated because of the havoc this disease creates. Why wouldn’t I have prevented myself from getting this illness if I could have? No one asks for this. It happens and we deal but I wish people understood that. Sugar didn’t do this to me. Cake wasn’t my enemy. It just happened.
  4. I wish people knew that even when I complain I’m never giving up. I can’t. It’s a real fight or flight kind of thing. You can either embrace it, run with it, and do your very best. Or you can let it take over your entire being until you’re consumed by it. Love and support from family and friends can go a long way. Every little encouraging thought, note, hug, whatever it may be, means the world to us. I know to me it does. If I didn’t have my support system who knows where I would be. I have met plenty of diabetics not caring about their illness because no one cares about them. What’s the point of fighting when you have no one in your corner.
  5. Lastly, I wish people knew that diabetes doesn’t limit us. I may have to take a few extra steps, precautions, or detours, but I am fully capable of taking this world on with diabetes on my back. We can do anything we put our minds to, with just a little more pizzazz, and a lot of snacks.

What’s something you wish people knew about living with Diabetes?

Please don’t fail me now!

My posts lately have been sort of thoughtful, sort of focused on family life, and motherhood. I hadn’t touched really on how diabetes has been treating me, or rather how I’ve been treating my diabetes. The truth is we aren’t friends and we never will be. I despise this disease and everything that comes along with it. I hate that I am almost thirty and having to think about my own mortality sooner than I feel I should. I am having to sit and think about every single thing I eat, or drink, and how it’s going to affect me. I am having to be my own pancreas which doesn’t sound bad until you realize all that the position entails. Constant finger pokes and blood drawls. Constant site changes and a body that has been beaten and abused by this illness. The constant fear of what could be, or what will be, no matter what I do.

Recently I was faced with the fact that sooner then later I might have to deal with kidney issues. Twice now I have had protein spill into my urine and now my endocrinologist is concerned. Now we have to monitor, now we have to discuss being proactive when, not if, we cross that bridge. And I don’t know about you and how you deal with news like this but it’s gotten to me, it’s depressing, it’s made me feel helpless. I don’t have the time or the energy for all of this crap but I have to find it. Because if I don’t get in control of this situation some how, some way, it’s me that suffers. And my family. That’s one thing I regret more than anything, having my family involved in this vicious disease. They are apart of it whether they want to be or not and that pisses me off more then anything. If I could bear the brunt of it all by myself, I would. If my sickness didn’t make them sad, or worry, or upset. Then I could deal with all of this. But I can’t shield them from it anymore then I can shield myself. And that’s another difficult pill to swallow.

I’m trying to  be positive. We aren’t talking dialysis, we aren’t figuring out medication yet, but we are monitoring and to me that’s just the start. Earlier this year I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Treatable, sure. I am currently taking medication for that. But I still felt like, why? Why do I have to deal with this, too? All of this has caused me to take a step back and reevaluate my health and what I need to do to improve it the best I can. I need to push back these complications for as long as possible because I am not going out like that. I am a fighter. I am a beast. I am a mom, and I have better things to be doing.

Recently I’ve started working out again. Being selective with food choices. And overall continuing to show this disease that I am in charge. Nothing is going to take me down unless I let it and that is not the kind of person I am. I don’t back down when I am put in a corner. Diabetes might be tough, but I’m tougher.

So to all you champions out there. Wear that smile and wear it proudly.

 

Things you shouldn’t do when your blood sugar is low…

With type one diabetes there are some days when you’re hitting those numbers and you’re hitting them hard. You look like a freaking rock star. And then there are those days when your numbers are doing their own thing and you’re left feeling all sorts of wonky.

Now, I don’t know about you but when my blood sugars (blood glucose levels) are low I get a little weird. Aside from the normal symptoms; shaky, sweaty, dizzy, disoriented, dealing with a numb sensation in my mouth and limbs, feeling lost, and everything else that comes along. I also get combative. A bit aggressive, in the sense that I don’t want anyone to tell me anything, don’t even talk to me when my sugar is low because I’m not me when I’m low. Ha. Like the snickers commercial…okay.

I’ve compiled a list of things you shouldn’t do when low because it will end badly.

Trust me.

 


  1. Do not. I repeat. Do not try to have a conversation with anyone. Happy, sad, or even political. Because when that sugar drops so does the filter. At least for me. I don’t care about anything other then gobbling up every single carb under my roof so I am not concerned with you and your political stance on bacon. I just don’t care.
  2. Do not try to operate heavy machinery. That’s for obvious reasons, I think. If you can’t remember your own name then driving a vehicle or anything like that should not be on your list of things to do right at that moment.
  3. Do not attempt to put make up on. I’ve been there and done that and it never comes out the way you hoped, the way you think it looks in a moment of low sugar rage, or the way the girl in the YouTube video says it will. Step away from the makeup.
  4. Do not go grocery shopping while low. Because I’ve come home with so much junk. And most of it was opened and half eaten. Not only that, the cashiers usually look at you weird and then there you are having to explain with a mouth full of oreos why you have opened and consumed most of your groceries already. They tend to understand for the most part but it’s still not a pretty picture.
  5. And lastly, do not try to shower. I’ve lost track of time in there. I’m washing my hair, minding my own business when my sugar drops, next thing I know I’ve been in there for an hour just wondering what the heck is going on.

Most of these are from personal experience and in no way reflect other type one diabetics. I can only speak for myself and when my blood sugar gets low I can only focus on one thing, trying to get my numbers up so I don’t feel this way anymore. Because it’s an awful, ugly feeling. If you can relate tell me the funniest, or weirdest thing, you’ve ever done while your sugar was low.

Also, don’t forget to smile. It’s a beautiful day.

When life happens..

I’ve been away for awhile but I am hoping to be back at it now.

Did ya miss me?

With the birth of my son almost ten months ago a lot was going to be changing, myself, my family, life in general. Having another little one around plus trying to keep up with everything else that had already been in my life was kind of an obstacle for me. I nearly crumbled trying to get things, life, everything in order. I am a very organized person, to an extent, and the birth of my son, though joyous and exciting, brought about new scheduling, new dynamics, new routines.

I put a lot of my life on hold so I could try and figure things out. This blog was one of the pieces of me I had to set aside until I sorted the details out. Life isn’t perfect but it’s slowly getting there.

Updates on everything:

My oldest has started second grade and absolutely loves it. She thrives in the school setting. I adore that about her. I hated school when I was younger. My favorite subjects were reading and writing. Couldn’t I do that in the comforts of home? She’s made so many friends and has even gone to a few sleepovers. (That was harder on me then her, I’m sure!) Recently she discovered her love of Nancy Drew and though she still really wants to be a diabetic doctor she’d like to do side work as a detective. She amazes me everyday with her love and compassion. I am truly blessed. She’s also flourished as a big sister. I was worried she’d feel left out or kicked to the side once a new baby entered the picture but she’s been a wonderful helper and so loving towards this little guy. It’s beautiful.

My littlest bundle of love is going to be ten months on the fourth and I am in aw of everything he does. They grow up so fast and if I could slow time for even just a few minutes I would. He has three teeth, eats everything in sight, smiles whenever I walk into the room, has taken three steps unassisted, loves to torment the family cat, gives the sweetest hugs and kisses, and is so intrigued by the way things work. He’s so very different than the way my oldest was at the very same age. It’s just as incredible this second time around watching all his firsts. When I had my oldest I thought there was no possible way I could ever love someone as much as I loved her and then my son was born and I realized that my heart was split in two and I couldn’t imagine my life without these two kids. Again, feeling blessed.

My husband and I embarked on our own adventure aside from parenting. He was offered a better paying position with another company and so after working at his last job for almost eight years he said goodbye so that we could start another exciting chapter in our life. I quit my part time job at Target so that I could be home for/with the kids and so far things have been great. Slightly stressful at times but still awesome. It was nice getting out of the house every couple of days but I actually feel relieved, happy, about this change. Being home with the kids, focusing more on the home, and my own personal health, has been amazing. We’ve finally figured out a routine, that is sure to change again soon, but it works for us and that’s what really matters. At the end of the day I know we are exactly where we’re supposed to be.

Some of you may or may not know I also care for my brother who has mild MR. He’s older but at times can feel like my younger brother. When he first moved out here in 2012 we had no idea what we were getting into. It started out rough but I am so happy and proud of where we’ve come. Mostly how far he’s come along. Not so shy, has a gf, works and makes his own money. He is a completely different person from where he started so long ago. Sometimes we bump heads, sometimes I get frustrated but when I see how happy he is to feel like he is “normal” (whatever that means because none of us are actually normal, haha) it makes all the struggles we’ve had worth it.

Diabetes wise, I am still doing the MDI. It’s been sort of empowering. Yes, I am diabetic but I am not ashamed to “shoot up” in public. I am doing what I need to do to be healthy and haters gonna hate no matter what. Once in awhile I notice a look here and there but they don’t know any better. If they knew the everyday struggles of this disease I know they wouldn’t look so disturbed. One conversation at a time and soon enough everyone will be educated. I am feeling well, some days I get distracted by the kids and I’ll forget a shot here and there but other than that I have never felt better.

Overall life was hectic but I finally feel like we are getting somewhere. We are no longer stagnant and it’s glorious feeling like we have purpose again. Like I have purpose again. I am seeing the hard work of the past years finally paying off and the joy is overwhelming. So hopefully you’ll be seeing me around these parts more often.

I hope things are well with you mu friends. Smile big.

smile big

With or without you.

India ink on paper 11" x 14" 2009

I hadn’t realized how fast time was flying by. I will have been on my insulin pump and CGM dexcom for about a year and a half now. I have loved and hated every second with these devices. At first the pump was amazing. I thought often about how I had been doing this diabetes thing all wrong. I was doing myself a disservice by not investigating these things sooner. The CGM helped me sleep through the nights with ease, unless I was high/low then it was a bit annoying, but I felt confident in myself and in my diabetes management. Having these tools made me feel almost invincible. I could be discreet and still manage to care for myself properly. My numbers were great and all through out my pregnancy I knew that I was doing everything in my power to keep not only myself happy and healthy but also my little man, too.

Until suddenly these once amazing gadgets started feeling like a burden. Until suddenly I felt annoyed with having these pods and sensors constantly stuck to my body. I was loathing site changes and overall I noticed myself ignoring the beeps and warnings which meant I was also ignoring my diabetes. So I took a step back, which has actually ended up being a step forward..funny how that works, and I am back on MDI (manual daily injections) and guess what it didn’t blow up the space time continuum. I am still standing and still going strong.

In an amazing reality check I realized that I can still manage my diabetes with or with out the fancy stuff. My numbers have been surprisingly exceptional and I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to the pump. Who knows though. I’ve learned that if you aren’t willing to try new ways to take care of this disease it will consume you, this mundane beast will make you lock it in a closet until you just don’t care anymore. I don’t want that to happen because it’ll mean I don’t care about myself. So, for now, I am doing MDI and using my CGM to help me through the days and nights.

If we’re being honest with one another I am happy with this decision. Hopefully I continue to feel this way for awhile.

Someone asked me if I recommended an insulin pump and I said that in the beginning I would have but now I say, really evaluate the decision. Consider every option and understand exactly what you are getting into. I feel like insulin pumps are amazing, wonderful tools, when used correctly. The only device I will continuously stand behind is the CGM, that is truly a life saver, insulin I can get either way I choose, but the piece of mind that comes with wearing the dexcom is undeniable.

Are you an insulin pumper? Do you CGM?

Ever just need a break? or are you someone considering a pump? I hope I haven’t given you the wrong message, if you decide the pump is for you, trust me, you’ll go far. My only advice in writing this is to make sure you figure out if it really suits you and I hope you’ll consider all your options. At the end of the day it is your health that matters the most.

Now, don’t forget to smile. It’s a beautiful day.

Food for thought.

gossip-image

I overheard a conversation the other day about a woman and her type one diabetic cousin. She was complaining about the audacity of her cousin wanting to have children. She exclaimed, with a tone of utter disgust, that her cousin already had two, why did she need more than that? I refrained from jumping in because I felt it wasn’t my place..or was it?

I was overwhelmingly upset about the comments. In a conversation that only took minutes from start to finish the woman explained that with being diabetic her cousin was causing so much damage to not only herself but her children as well. The other person in this seemingly one sided conversation asked if something was wrong with the cousins children.

“No. Not yet anyway!”

Not yet?

With someone who had such an abundant amount of knowledge about this disease did she not know that plenty of diabetic women have healthy pregnancies as well as perfectly healthy children. I can use myself as an example. Did I always take care of myself and my diabetes, no, but once I was put into a situation where it wasn’t just my life at stake I focused on being the best me, the best diabetic, and the best mom I could be. Life is not with out it’s ups and downs but that doesn’t mean that everything is going to go wrong all of the time. I have had two healthy pregnancies and two healthy children call me mommy. Why shouldn’t the woman’s cousin be allowed to have as many children as her heart desires? So long as her body permits and the doctors are by her side I don’t see a problem.

I certainly don’t understand why it’s anyone’s business.

Or why the woman decided she needed to tell everyone within an ear shot about her diabetic cousin.

Why am I now discussing it? Because I am outraged that people find it necessary to trash talk any woman, but in this particular situation a diabetic woman, and whether or not she should bear children. The topic hits close to home only for the fact that I have been asked why I decided to have children if I knew I was sickly, if i knew there was a chance that my kids could “come down with it..(diabetes)” Why would I put myself and others in danger?

At times I have fully explained myself when I felt as though the questions and comments were coming from a loving and concerned place. However, most of the time these questions can feel like attacks. Like I am being attacked for a disease I never asked for, like I am being attacked for wanting to be a mother despite these uncontrollable circumstances. Is it really alright to just walk up to people and ask them these sort of things? I deserve respect and so did that woman’s cousin. My decisions deserve respect whether you agree or disagree and so do the cousins decisions.

Furthermore I believe that everyone should be educated before even thinking about questioning people and the way they live their lives. People with diabetes, so long as it is managed appropriately, can live very wonderfully and successfully. Nothing is impossible, well except for creating our own insulin, but other than that we can accomplish so much. And diabetic women, specifically to this post, can most definitely have children and as many as they want!

I am not trying to speak for everyone and I am certainly not claiming to know everyone’s situation but I will say this…be careful what you say out loud and ask yourself if you were in their shoes would you feel offended at all, would you welcome criticism with open arms? Or would you want to be respected?

Jumping off my soap box now.

Have you experienced anything like this?

Grocery store blues.

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Life with children can get a little hectic.

Life with diabetes can get a little hectic.

Life with both can be downright outrageous at times.

If I am giving all my attention to one sometimes the others are being ignored. It’s not awesome but it’s the truth.

So far my husband has handled all of this very well. Our daughter has been the best big helper and we have fallen into a nice routine. It is a bit rough around the edges here and there but it works for us, for now. Every one is happy and healthy which is always my main goal in life.

Once in awhile we try to do things as a family which involves all of us being apart of it. It’s fun. I guess I’m weird because I actually enjoy grocery shopping. I especially enjoy grocery shopping with my husband. It’s something we’ve always done together. I don’t know why. We’ve considered it our time though. Sometimes our daughter will be there, or we’ll go while she’s in school. The only time there’s a solo trip is if one of us isn’t feeling well. The other day we ventured out as a whole unit to grocery shop..here’s how it went from awesome to a bad idea in a matter of seconds…

The baby was already a bit fussy. Normally he falls into a deep sleep in the car but this time he wasn’t having it. Our daughter was tired and feeling fidgety. My husband and I were exhausted from lack of sleep the night before and of course my diabetes decided to be a jerk.

We’re at the end of our grocery shopping adventure when on our way to pay my blood sugar decides to plummet. It was so inconvenient because my son was screaming his head off and my daughter was not cooperating. My husband was focused on getting us out of there as quickly as possible and there I am, a stone, unable to think or move. My husband asks me to type in our phone number for the in store coupons and I couldn’t even remember it. My dexcom reads LOW and I just keep staring at the words on the screen. It’s like I was in a trance. I just kept thinking, how did this happen?

My daughter hands me her skittles to open and I vaguely remember asking for some. Before I know it I’m shoveling little rainbow colored bits into my mouth while the cashier stares at me. My husband’s telling me to go sit down and my daughter is asking for her candy back. I laughed like nothing was wrong and began calming the baby down. My was head still foggy but I could feel my senses slowly return to normal. I signaled to my husband that everything was fine and we finished up our transaction and left.

I was thankful that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I know that things like this will happen and it won’t stop me from family outings but boy was it tough. Hoping to be better prepared next time. That’s all I can ever really do. Hope that the next time diabetes decides to keep me on my toes I will be ready to tackle it down and keep it there.