Dear Diabetes, you suck.

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

Tag: Insulin pump (page 1 of 2)

so this might seem like rocket science…

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 5.31.25 PM

so the other day I spiked right after breakfast, I had just been to the doctor and I thought “what the hell, I thought the adjustments were supposed to fix this…” pause and rewind for a hot minute… I failed to take into consideration that the previous night at 1am my OmniPod had expired-expired (meaning passed the additional 8 hours it gives you to change it)… did I get up to change it? no. did I think ahead and change it before I went to bed? no. I thought about it and then I was already warm and comfortable and didn’t want to strip down to have to apply/remove pods, I just wanted to go to bed… so first I get woken up with a low alarm, which I ignore, then I get woken up with the pod alarm (which is way worse than the dexcom… ear piercingly loud), only to silence it and go back to sleep, to be woken up and then ignore the dexcom at least once more… so basically, all this technology I wear does not stand up to an idiot who refuses to use it properly… and when I spike after breakfast… maybe it has to do with me not having insulin in my system for the previous 7 hours… just maybe, you know? who knows? that doesn’t sound reasonable? or like science (#sarcasm)… so the answer is… not rocket science… change my pods on time, listen to my dexcom, and only expect good results if I’m putting in good effort… new page, new day, new chance to get it right… one minute, one moment at a time

A win at something lame is still a win.

GoldStarSo I hate having to wear a pump. I hate the process of putting on a new one, but the other day I managed to put on a new omnipod by myself without having an emotional meltdown. This is a delayed reaction, but I am proud of myself. I was supposed to go to my friend’s house so I’d have support , but as I was waiting to leave, I thought to myself “this is stupid, I should just do it now so I don’t have to worry about it later…” and so I did it. fairly quickly, but still slower than I know I’ll be soon enough… I just keep thinking how slow and timid I was with the dexcom at first. I remembered to pinch the skin around the site, it didn’t hurt nearly as much as the first time. I even tried a new site, I have it on my upper arm right now — I think it helps that I have more fat there, but I’ve also caught it on door frames a few times… who knew I cut my corners so hard. Another thing down. I can’t help but hold my breath a little bit — every time I think I’ve got something down, a whole new pile of shit lands in my lap. I just don’t think I can take on any more.

Tick Tock


So I tick now… great. Add that to the list of shit that sucks. like a pest. like a time bomb (that’s an obvious one). worse it’s a reminder. everytime I hear it I feel something different. sometimes it makes me feel like quitting. other times it reminds me that I am bionic. that I’m lucky. that I’m blessed. that I’m sick. I’m dependent. broken. baggage to be handled. forgotten. defective. thankful to be alive. angry. why me. fuck that thing again. I wonder where my numbers are. shit. I still have diabetes. fuck diabetes.

Anytime I feel like I’ve got my shit locked down, I’m at work, or with friends, anytime I’m not thinking about diabetes, blissfully ignorant for a short period of time… tick. and just like that I’m back to reality. the shitty reality of this shitty disease that fucks with every aspect of my life. if anything would convince me to go back to shots… at least they stayed silently in my kit… fuck diabetes.

Phantom Sensors

PoofMoving the omnipod around has had an odd side effect. I am rightly sensitive/protective of my “equipment” … still haven’t found the right word. If either my dexcom or omnipod are pulled/ripped off or dislodged in any way, or even jostled out of place in the wrong way, they will not work — this is not only unsafe for me, as I wear them for a reason, but it’s also expensive if I have to replace the sensors more than prescribed. then there’s also the matter of just feeling the “equipment” on my body. when I roll over in bed. when I put my hand in my pocket because I think my keys are in there, and it turns out it’s my sensor. I catch it on something or I can just feel it when sitting in a chair, or leaning against something — needing to make sure that the way I’m leaning isn’t pulling it away from my body… here’s the thing though… I’m now feeling my sensor in places that they’re not… more than once now, I’ve been sitting and reached back check that my omnipod is okay — and it’s on my arm. I twist one way to grab something and then check that my dexcom is okay… it’s on the other side. Now, not only am I avoid/protecting my “equipment” but I’m also avoid/protecting anywhere I place equipment all the time, whether or not there is any “equipment” there. fuck this. where can I opt out. I’m so done. I hate that this is changing my behavior. I hate that I am having to change my behavior for this disease. or that this disease is forcing changes in my life. or that I have to make changes in my behavior for this device. this is all chicken and the egg bullshit. I’m just mad. fuck diabetes.

no pants, no tubing…no problems

a diabetic twist on a Kenny Chesney classic

a diabetic twist on a Kenny Chesney classic

okay, so maybe some problems. but I hate wearing pants and omnipod works with that. I’ve been working from home a lot lately, and I’ve found that I really enjoy not wearing pants all day. it makes me happy. this is only possible because I have no tubing. I suppose I could tuck a tubed pump in my bra, or clip it to my underwear, but I love not having to think about that. I hate sleeping on it, or not being able to sleep one way or another because the omnipod makes it uncomfortable, but at least I don’t have to worry about kinked tubing. last night I suspended my insulin based on my own judgement for the first time. I felt like I was in control. and it worked I woke up in the 90s. I’m still yo-yo-ing a bit, but I can feel the better numbers just out of reach, but getting closer.

Every 42 days

Date tearI did the math. if I replace my omnipods every 3 days, and my dexcoms every ~14 days, I will have a small window of time to be device free once every 42 days. In reality it will probably never line up perfectly, but my first pod change was one of those nights.

My omnipod was the first to go. After it hits the 8 hour mark it goes off with a loud piercing noise that sounds like a fire alarm designed for dogs… so that was lovely/not. But, at least I used the tac away the omnipod rep gave me, sooo much better than just ripping it off, I will be using that from now on. Pitched the omnipod in the trash. Then I decided that I might as well change the dexcom out at the same time. Off came the dexcom. I was free.

I sat for probably close to an hour… what felt like an eternity… just sitting in my desk chair with no devices on, pondering what life would be like without them. remembering what life was like without them. mourning my loss of whatever that is. netflix in the background playing my latest binge series, diabetes paraphernalia strewn across my desk like a half done arts and crafts project.  knowing that I wasn’t receiving an insulin, and that this much time without any would probably fuck up my overnight numbers… which it did, or the chocolate I stress-ate. Around 10:30 or so I realized that I would have to stay up for the dexcom to prime, or be woken up by that super annoying beeping — so all this needed to be done for the sake of sleep, or at least that’s what I told myself in order to bolster my resolve. I put together the needle to fill the omnipod with insulin, by far the most “medical” feeling part of the process, I was able to follow the instructions on my PDM and got the two beeps telling me I had filled to the minimum insulin requirement, all I need at this point. Pressing the button to prime, I zoned out again for a bit. To this point I had been holding my shit together. It was done priming, it was time to take the backing off the adhesive and stick that intrusive declaration of sickness on my body. I lost it. I threw a full scale tantrum, to myself, complete with crying, pacing and the desire to beat the shit out of things… thank god I keep my lacrosse sticks in the garage, otherwise I might be looking into patching drywall… after a bit I was able to compose myself. The adult part of my brain rationalized that I just need to do this. I peeled the backing and, with a bit of contortion, was able to apply it on my back where I thought it would be least bothersome… then the PDM wants me to push a button to allow/direct the pod to insert the canula… a nice way to say that a mechanical device is going to jab me with a needle — I don’t care what fraction of a second it is, the fucked up part is pushing the button. I pressed the button, I waited… and oh fuck, that hurt like a bitch. that did not at all feel like my dexcom. they lie. it doesn’t help that I don’t have “enough” fat — I learned later that pinching the skin around the pod would have helped… too late for this time around. the stabbing of the canula… yes, that’s what it felt like to me, set me off back to the tantrum. Every single “why me?” “this blows.” “this isn’t fair.” “fuck this.” “I quit.” “this can’t be real.” “why does this have to be my reality.” “what did I do to deserve this?” “can I find my way out of this?” “there has got to be another solution.” — even the passing thought of ending everything hasn’t occurred to me in a long time, but in that moment anything sounded better than being in my own skin. dealing with my own reality. and then just like it came on, I was just done. shook up, but done.

I sat down again, the thought occurred to me that I probably should have done the dexcom first b/c of its set-up time, but whatever, too late for that. I took care of the dexcom installation swiftly, at this point it’s not a big deal… as I type this, I hope and know that eventually the dexcom installation will be like that too. And just like that I was done… ready to find two hours of entertainment to wait out the priming of the dexcom. back to my new reality. Me with two devices and a puppy on the couch.

With just the dexcom I could/did take a bit of time in between wearing the sensors — it sometimes resulted in disastrous lows, but it was still possible. It is not possible for me to take time off of the omnipod… I mean, I can take it off my body, but I have no long-acting insulin in my body anymore, so I would immediately be on my own… with a busted pancreas.

So basically, every 42 days I will be teased with the idea of freedom — I think I’ll just re-up my dexcom and avoid it altogether… no sense in temptation for the sake of temptation. Who am I kidding… I’ll probably do it anyway, 10 minutes of freedom is better than none at all.

Omnipod induced hibernation

Casey's take on hibernation

Casey’s take on hibernation

A few days ago I realized that I had stopped writing… for me that is not a good sign. It means that I am stuffing down my feelings and ignoring the pain, or taking the joy for granted. Writing, here or anywhere, helps me process life, whatever it may be at the time.

The biggest thing I have been denying lately is the omnipod… all aspects of it.

I basically told no one. my way of lying to myself. the short list was on a need to know basis — a friend I had dinner with (had to bolus), my parents (because they asked me direct questions and I didn’t want to straight up lie to people who care about me), a few others… but only in unavoidable situations. My first two insertions on my own were terrible. The third I did with a friend there and it was oddly okay. I felt like maybe I was getting the hang of it. I’ve even started to feel hungry again, still battling with avoiding food as to avoid messing with my numbers, but even being hungry is progress.

My numbers are good — even when I’m not eating… and thanks to the omnipod basal rate, I am receiving insulin all day, even though it is a very small amount, that is what is keeping me well. It is inescapable, I need this insulin to be well. even if it’s 1 unit, I need it. I have diabetes. If I didn’t have diabetes I wouldn’t need any additional insulin to be well. even though it’s small, it’s there… and I need it. I have diabetes. I didn’t even know that this denial was still in me until I started writing this. I feel like the kid in school that is forced to write lines as punishment… I have diabetes. I have diabetes. I have diabetes. maybe a few hundred more times and it will get it into my head. I am never going to function without help — even if there is better and better technology or a cure, I will not get better or live well on my own. that thought needs to die. I will not be able to move forward with caring for myself if I’m still holding out hope that this will all just disappear. like magic.

Maybe omnipod isn’t my biggest source of denial after all.

Celebrate Everything… Again

Diabetic BraceletI found this bracelet on etsy and I love it. I am just so happy to be able to relax knowing that I have that extra layer of security, since I am alone so often.

I also tweeted about this because I wanted to give a shout out to my sister… she’s hilarious, check it out here.

I am still not a fan of things that identify me as “sick,” but at this point I’ve already got the dexcom and the omnipod stuck to me, really adding a bracelet isn’t that much more. It is a reminder that I am on my own, but it also helps assure me of my independence at the same time. Today I am celebrating that. #celebrateeverything

I’ll be available today between 1-2 pm


I am definitely processing my OmniPod experience backwards, maybe because I was so overwhelmed that I wasn’t processing anything for awhile.

I had gone to my doctor and gotten the prescription for the insulin for the pump settings. I emailed the rep to confirm that she had received the settings from my doctor, figuring that I would have a few days, maybe a week to mentally prepare myself, I would watch a few videos, talk to my sponsor about it, make a plan to go to a meeting right before and/or after, and then…

“I am available today between 1-2 pm.  Can we meet then?” That is what the OmniPod rep replied to me… at 4:50am, which of course I didn’t read until 8:30am… which gave me a 4.5 hour window to “prepare myself.” Calling this a major detour would be an understatement. She apologized for the short notice, and said that she’s going to be away on vacation and wanted to set me up before she’s out of the office — I appreciate that. sort of.

…although, I had thought I’d have at least another week of denial…

I started this post before I left to meet her, but in the rush to wrap up work and get out of the house, I had even less time to prepare myself for the impending doom. okay, so I’m being a little dramatic… that’s how it felt.

In hindsight it was just as terrible as I thought it would be. I felt exposed in every way a person can feel exposed. I was on the brink of tears for half of the appointment. I wasn’t really listening to what she was saying, and worst of all, like every other dietitian appointment I have ever had, it was completely useless. I could have answered all those questions just from the literature that I had already read, add in some YouTube videos, and I’ve now more than doubled the useful information that was given in that appointment. If you do your reading your first appointment should be about 15 minutes, do the first insertion and then let me go home. And here’s the best part… I’m supposed to meet her again? For what purpose I asked, “to go over more information” she says… I’ll go because I’m committed to doing all the tactical tasks asked of me by my doctor/this disease, but I won’t like it.

I did not appreciate the bursting of my denial bubble. Especially not when it was with basically wasted time. Having now had time with the omnipod, emotionally I still hate it, tactically it’s working really well.

post-appointment vow of silence

I feel like this picture captures my inner monk -- part vow of silence, part gangster, lol -- Photo by Joel Collins

I feel like this picture captures my inner monk — part vow of silence, part gangster, lol — Photo by Joel Collins

after meeting with the rep I told know one. I saw two people I knew at the place I met the rep, so I was honest with them. I admitted to my parents and my friend I went to eat with that night, but that was it. and I was not going to tell anyone else. posting on this site was the next person I told. I don’t know why. I guess somehow it felt like if I kept it a secret then no one would ask me any questions and then I could pretend that it wasn’t there. I was embarrassed by it, more so than I was by giving shots — I guess because it was new again, or new to me…? I relaxed a bit and started being upfront when asked about diabetes, or about what was going on with me… since that is the thing that most occupies my thoughts these days.

I went to a friend’s birthday party last night and wouldn’t have felt comfortable in a bathing suit around any other group of people, it’s the first time anyone has seen me with both devices beyond a “yes, this is what it is.” I got a few questions, but they were inquisitive and supportive… “I prefer ironman or the bionic woman” being one of my answers. It was a great way to “rip the bandaid” on being open about this next step in my diabetic journey. Not that I need to tell everyone or be an omnipod poster child, but I have found that I feel better in life and in myself when I am open and honest in all aspects of my life. It might be awkward and painful now, but if I’m honest and address it for what it is now, the stress associated with it will diminish and the changes that I need to make become part of my life, quietly, without worry or difficulty. This is my experience with all other changes in my life. I feel rather zen while writing this, but it is true — when I can move into acceptance, or at least address why I am resistant or resentful, I immediately feel better — it is this honest that has helped me get to this point. now if I can keep that going… maybe I will be able to tell Diabetes to “shove it” from a place of honesty and acceptance.. hmmm, that doesn’t seem to totally fit… haha

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