Dear Diabetes, you suck.

a front end developer who also happens to have type 1 diabetes

Month: March 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Reaching in my pocket

I’m just a regular person. I’m not taking my blood sugar, or trying to discerning a high from a low, or doing insulin math at the dinner table, I’m just a person, arriving home and checking their pockets for their keys. My hands go to my hoodie pockets and pat on the front of them to determine their contents, like they have a thousand times before. My keys are in my right pocket, and my sensor is under my left pocket. And just like that I’m back, diabetes, blood sugar, fear, medications, doctors, and worst of all this new thing that points out my difference, my disability to the world. Thanks sensor, for ruining a normal moment and reminding me that I’m sick. Thanks a bunch. Fuck you.

While I in no way feel like a proponent of the continuous glucose monitor,  I can begrudgingly admit that the continuous glucose monitor is not entirely without redeeming qualities… I still need to test at the usual intervals, but it can quickly answer the “I feel weird, is it my blood sugar?” question and alert me when “kinda low” actually needs to be addressed… and reminds me again every few minutes until I take care of it.

You could probably feel the “but” coming from a mile away… the sensor/transmitter, the part on my body, stuck to me, jutting out from my skin like it doesn’t belong, like the foreign body that it is. Objectively, it isn’t “that bad.” And for the most part I don’t notice it, at least not while I’m clothed. It’s not quite beach season yet, and I’m not dating anyone right now, so currently I’m the only one who sees the abnormality that clearly marks me as a sick person. This is okay for now, beach season will arrive, a new relationship will necessitate my being comfortable with someone else seeing my proverbial “Hi, I’m sick” neck sign, but I’ll cross those bridges when I come to them. Right now I’m the only one that sees this thing marring my otherwise perfectly normal form.

I realize that this may sound melodramatic to someone who hasn’t been in my shoes. I get it. It’s not “that bad.” Aren’t I glad that this technology exists? It would be much worse ten yeas ago. Be thankful you have access to this kind of treatment. This means you don’t have to stick yourself anymore, right? This must be so great for you. All of these things are wrong. At least that’s how I feel about them when someone says them to me. I can recognize the objective truth of some of them, but objective truth is not my reality. My reality is a sensor stuck to my side. Maybe if it cured diabetes, but it doesn’t… I’m still sick, I’m still enslaved to insulin, I just have more baggage, another thing to carry around, another prescription to fill, something else to explain, to worry about, to understand, to cope with, to stress about, to attempt to make peace with.

All they see is the up side. No one understands the whole picture. They don’t have the leech of a sensor attached to them all day everyday. Christ, I haven’t even made it a full week and I have already wanted to rip it off of me at random intervals, throw it on the ground and smash it into little bits so it can’t hurt me anymore. I know that sounds backwards. It’s helping me. I applied to insurance to have this approved, so that I could have it. But sometimes it feels like it’s evil. It’s me against the sensor. I wanted to be ironman, man augmented by machine… awesome made awesomer, but that’s not what I got, or that’s not what I have, not how I feel. I envisioned that it would be a tool in my diabetes toolbox, part of my solution to live a better life with diabetes, since at this magical point in time I am referencing, I would have also made peace with having diabetes in the first place… I’m not sure that that will ever be possible.

This long awaited thing has arrived, this supposed solution, and now that it’s here, it feels like I’ve invited in the trojan horse.


Hey Diabetes, it’s here — now what?

3/24/14: My CGM arrived today. I’ve opened the box and looked inside and opened the boxes inside the box, and closed them again. They are now stacked neatly on the side of my desk, staring at me, as I glare back at them. It feels like the opposite of a christmas present… but it’s supposed to be good, it’s supposed to help me, it will help me. [glare at boxes]

I’m afraid to do it. I’m afraid not to do it. I’m stuck.

So, I just watched the dexcom video again, and re-read my friend’s email again… this sensor tool looks barbaric…  where am I supposed to put this again? Maybe if I just pretend it’s going to feel like I’m being stabbed with a knife, whatever it does feel like won’t be so bad in comparison. So, I’m sitting here with a quesadilla staring at the boxes. Now what?

Fast Forward to today — 1.5 days in: While eating my quesadilla and staring at the boxes, I took up a friend on her offer to come over and help me. It was not the end of the world like I imagined it would be — nor did it feel like I was stabbing myself. It surprisingly barely hurt at all, it was super strange to use the injection tool, but not terrible. Then there was the receiver… I swear I looked at the number on the box… turns out I entered it wrong… that was 30 minutes of wondering why it wasn’t working… but in the end it was able to get a signal, I waited until the next morning to calibrate (it went off asking for calibration after I fell asleep… my alarm clock reflex turned it off). And so far so good… it’s nice knowing where I’m at, irritating when I would have ignored how I felt (ex. when in a meeting at work), but nonetheless probably for the better. It’s annoying to remember to keep it with me all the time, I have ordered a purse/bag that I will hopefully be able to use to put in my briefcase and solo to solve this problem. I love data, that is not new. I’m still conflicted though. It caught a quick drop last night, which was great, but wearing the sensor makes me feel weird. Living in Southern California, I know it is going to be beach season soon… and then my sensor will label me as a sick person… I’m not thrilled about that, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to that. For now I’m wearing clothes to cover it and it’s helping… now to just keep telling myself that…

Wait, I agreed to this?!

Ummm… so I just watched a bunch of the Dexcom G4 tutorial videos… I’m not so sure about this… It really looks like a medical device. I don’t know what I expected, but it was not this. I don’t want to look like I’m just out of the hospital all the time… ugh. I know it’s going to help, but seriously. the information part sounds great, carrying around something else, not so much, having that thing attached to me, also not so much… ugg. The video showing you how to attach the sensor… not cool. all of this is not cool. and scary. but also I need this — my dog can’t call 911. I need to not be waking up (by the grace of god) at 38… I need to know well before that so I can do something about it. This is going to help me do that. I just need to remember that… and avoid watching those videos before I actually need to…

CGM has been approved… here we go…

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Beautiful Weather, Bad Day

It’s hard to be mad about anything with Southern California weather. However, today sucks. I’m still reeling from the break up, my numbers have been off (not terrible, but just unstable enough to be really annoying). I’m having to babysit my doctor and the dexcom rep to figure out how to get my approvals through. Switching insurance is a bitch. Don’t do it. Just keep the job you don’t like, it’s totally worth it not to have to deal with all of this. Okay, maybe not, but this sucks. So much paperwork, it’s like another job… I should start putting this shit on my resume… “master insurance paperwork filer – level diabetes”

Then there’s the whole… just hang on until I get the CGM, then everything will be okay/get better. Except now I’m starting to think that I’m putting too much faith in the CGM making a difference and then it’s going to come and it’s not going to fix anything and I’m going to be disappointed and frustrated all over again.

I really just want to take a nap. from life. 

I just took my blood sugar. this shit makes no sense. forget the nap. I want to take a coma from life. it is very unfortunate that I’m sober because I could really use something to take the edge off and help me zone out, away from all this badness. Fuck this. Fuck Diabetes. Fuck Life. I’m so fucking tired right now, but I’m at 89… what the fuck, how does that make any sense. It feels like my brain is shutting down, maybe my brain is quitting like my pancreas did… 6 months ago I couldn’t have told you what a pancreas did… I miss that. I want the before back. Wow, I’m way more upset than I realized. This shit sucks. I know it’s only temporary, but it’s terrible. 

I’m going to take a nap. 

Blood Sugar Pit Stop

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Solving world hunger

I just got home and my mind was spinning with all the things I wanted to get done tonight — make food, figure out food for the week, clean up my apt, finish unpacking completely, brush my dog, clean and care for my new tattoo, maybe go to a meeting, call my sponsor, pick out my clothes for tomorrow, watch some tv, relax, meditate, an accountability call with a friend, start an online learning course for coding, watch some TED talks and this other lecture I’ve been meaning to watch, write my weekly goals, add to and reorganize my task list, enter in my diabetes numbers for the past I don’t know how many days that I haven’t done it (does anyone have a good way to see trending without a continuous glucose meter?!)  …and did I mention that I’m supposed to go to the gym? My list might as well include solving world hunger. Next, to understand what really needs to be done, what is possible and reasonable to be done tonight, and what can be cut loose for now, and what can be dumped forever off the list. So, first thing off the list was the gym, I’m tired, I have a new tattoo… and I promised myself (also, out loud to my dog) that I would trade working out for going to a meeting, I figured emotional health for physical health was an okay trade for today. Next to tackle the tasks list, which should help to organize everything else… but wait, I’m hungry, does that mean I’m low? I haven’t fed my dog. shit. what was I thinking about 5 seconds ago. I must be low because my ADD is raging, or maybe I’m just tired, I should probably stop typing and take my blood sugar… 63… fuck [drinking juice]… I was 110 an hour ago… how did that happen… why didn’t I start shaking. I just remembered something else I was supposed to do, but now I forgot, shit.. fed the dog, finished my juice (out of a glass and not a juice box, since I keep finishing those and then I don’t have any to-go sugar options when I need them). Damn, I’m running through test strips recently, if I had been tracking my numbers right I could tell you how many, but all I know is that I’m on my last 50 and I’m not supposed to refill for another ten days, which could work… if everything is normal… but we all know if I count on a normal ten days, I will not have a normal ten days… I feel the sugar kicking in. All of a sudden my brain is coming off of warp speed and I can concentrate again… guess I should start with that task list… and get started on eliminating things…

Diabetes, We’re Down One

Dear Diabetes,

Today you are not the worst thing going on. We addressed some lows earlier in the day, but they weren’t extreme — and now we’re good (just double checked, 118 — woot woot).

Today my romantic relationship with my girlfriend ended. Boom. Worse than any blood sugar low I’ve experienced. I won’t expand on the problems and reasons here, as far as you are concerned diabetes, our worry is that now our support system is down one — an important one. The one who saw me through the beginning of sobriety, bi-polar diagnosis, and finding my way in the world as a lesbian — and then the type 1 diabetes diagnosis on top of all of that. It’s been a banner year, and she has been there to support to the best of her ability, every step of the way. I know that she still loves me, and that she is still in my corner, but there is still a loss there. Our partner, our first call, our default emergency contact on all forms and places that require an emergency contact — is no more.

That’s all I have. no solutions. no replacements. just facts. We’ll work on the rest tomorrow.

Gatorade, Water, and taking advice

Someone who has done this before might have some useful information. Go figure. Well, I listened and it actually worked. The day before yesterday I went to work out and I took a gatorade/water to sip throughout the workout and I was able to keep up through the whole hour, with no lows, only stopping to test once, and taking quick breaks to drink the gatorade/water — I actually finished my workout higher than I started (but still within range).

I’m excited because this was the first time I have been able to really push through a workout without hitting a “diabetes wall.” It was good, but also scary – in that, once again, I’m the only thing holding me back kind of way… good, but scary.

I will be excited to get the CGM for this — for crossfit taking a testing break out of my times should shave 30-45 seconds off of my overall workout times… as a competitive, type A person, that means a lot. #cautiouslyoptimistic

Nice Diabetes…(holding breath)

I feel like my diabetes is the beast that is taking a nap… if I just tip toe around quietly enough, maybe it will keep behaving… (fingers crossed).

So I survived the trip, I had some real rollercoastering on the way there, but minimal while I was there and pretty stable on the flight back. I feel better having done the trip — it seems to have settled that hurdle for me.

In other news, I just started a new job — and boy is it obvious how stress affects my numbers. Since I have been able to mellow out, I’ve barely had to use correctional insulin, just basal in the morning and before bed — probably honeymooning a bit, but I’ll take it.

My doctor recommended a blood glucose monitor last time I went in — still working through all of the insurance stuff, I was not thrilled at first, but my numbers were so out of whack that I was scared enough to agree to it. Now that I’ve had some time to adjust I can see the value in being able to see the pattern/trend of my numbers… even if I am less than thrilled about having something semi-permanently attached to me.

I realize this entry is a bit more of an update, rather than being content driven, but that’s where I’m at today.

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