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?

The Exercising Diabetic.

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Though I’d like to think I’m quite an athlete the truth is that I’m far from it. Far, far, far from it. There isn’t an athletic bone in this body. I have come to terms with it and it’s perfectly acceptable for you to do the same. Instead what I do have are let’s-workout-here-and-there-for-diabetes-sake bones in my body. I realize the positive effect exercising has on my blood glucose levels but I also realize just how difficult it can be to create the perfect scenario for my diabetes to thrive.

Even though I’m back on the workout grind it has definitely taken a while. The frustrating part of striving to be a healthier me was that, without fail, I would gear up and head out on my walks, or whatever regimen I had planned out, and my numbers would be stable. Then they would slowly start to climb. Skyrocketing by the end of my workout. This was supposed to make me feel great, healthy, and in charge. When in reality I was feeling, drained, defeated, and ready to throw in the towel. Some days were the complete opposite. Dropping so low in the middle of sweating it out that I would have to eat something substantial to get back up to normal.

Color me beyond frustrated. So frustrated in fact that I convinced myself that I was happy with the way I looked, the miserable way I felt, and the way diabetes and I interacted. Like two feuding exes not really wanting to be in the same room as one another but playing nice and being cordial because that’s what adults do.

Then it hit me. One day I woke up and I realized that health isn’t something to take for granted, it’s something that needs to be worked at. You’re blessed with an amazing system in the beginning but it’s entirely your duty to maintain it. Sometimes illness happens, or life happens, and the healthy points start ticking down. But we are in charge, nonetheless, of our overall healthiness. Not anyone else. So I decided it’s time to take responsibility for my poor choices, and somewhat horrible habits, and have begun getting myself into gear. I’ve started kicking my own butt. Not literally of course. But I set myself goals. Small ones for easy victories that would give me the continued confidence I needed and now I am starting on those long term ones. Goals that after they’ve been completed make you feel really, and truly accomplished. Baby steps are still steps. Progress should always be something to be proud of. I’m starting there and working my way up.

It’s not an easy road. And this doesn’t mean I have suddenly developed those “athletic” bones. But I am working on a better me. A healthier me so that I can continue to be a mom, a diabadass, and everything in between.

How do you stay in charge of your diabetes and overall health?

With or without you.

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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.

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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.

Pumpcation.

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It’s needless to say that diabetes can be a bit frustrating at times. Whether I follow the “rules” to the T or dance to a different tune, diabetes is always there being all frustrating. Recently I’ve hit a wall and I’ve hit it hard
I’ve been on the omnipod since November of 2013 and I’ve loved each and every second of it. There have been days where my pods malfunction and I just want to throw them out the window but for the most part these little things have been game changers for me. Given me the freedom I’ve so desperately searched for with diabetes on my back. Allowed me an opportunity to really take control of something I thought would always be a chaotic mess. Except now I’m starting to despise these little gadgets.

I’m starting to despise all my gadgets.

They’ve been causing me more stress than not and I’m taking that as a signal for a break. Not forever but for now I need some space. I am on gadget overload and before I start neglecting my diabetes because of these frustrations I need to find other ways to manage my disease. Going back to MDI actually seems nice. I’m excited for the change up. I’m excited to unplug for a bit and refocus this whole situation.

I know I’m not the only one who has done this before.

In fact it’s knowing that this happens, that it’s a common experience, that gives me the confidence and encouragement I need for this little experiment. Of course I don’t plan on just changing things up on my own. I have an endo appointment coming up in a few weeks where I’ll discuss my pumpcation, my frustrations, and everything in between. Hopefully she’ll understand and give me a bit of guidance. I could use a lot of the right now.

What have been your thoughts/experiences with pumpcations?

Traveling with diabetes: pt2

Recently my little family and I ventured out to Florida for our first road trip/family vacation. More specifically we went to Disney world. It truly was magical, once we got there that is, the drive down was awful.

It was an incredibly long drive with a seven year old and five month old. I’ll admit they did better than I thought they would. We packed snacks, drinks, everything but the kitchen sink.

The drive was so long that I nearly cried when I saw the glorious Welcome to Disney sign. Among traveling with two children I also had to travel with diabetes. This worried me the most. I’d never really traveled such a long distance with my friend diabetes. I worried if I’d forget something or wouldn’t have enough of something so I literally packed everything…

1. Three omnipods not including the one I wore.
2. Two vials of insulin not including the open one in my purse.
3. A box of syringes.
4. Extra test strips.
5. A new sensor for my dexcom.
6. A whole new pack of AAA batteries for my PDM.
7. Charger for Dex.

There’s probably a few more things I’m forgetting but I wanted to make sure I was covered for every situation that could possibly go wrong. Every stop  we had to make for the kiddos I checked my sugar, gave insulin, made sure to get out and walk around for circulation purposes, and made sure to pay attention to every signal my body gave me. Overall it went well.

The days at Disney were great. Went low a few times but there was plenty to indulge in, err, plenty around to help me out for strictly medical reasons. My tips are only this…check, cheek and check again. Stay hydrated, it’s easy to forget about drinking water when you’ve got a million things on your plate. And don’t be afraid to over pack your supplies. I’d rather have and not need then need it and not have it.

The trip ended too soon but it went spectacular.
Don’t forget to smile. I’m sure you’ve got plenty of reasons.

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