Dear Diabetes, you suck.

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

Tag: Sober

Drop the rock.

DroptherockI was having trouble concentrating today, after hours of fighting to stay concentrated, then falling into tv, fading into over thinking, and then all of a sudden I knew I was on an edge, not a relapse edge, but an edge all the same — I text a sober friend, and another friend, and my sponsor… anyway, the result of all this reaching out for help (the thought of which still makes me cringe) was a conversation with my sponsor which made me feel a lot better — she said to me that in speaking with her that I had “dropped the rock.” I’m not sure if this is what she meant by that, but what came to mind for me was running underwater and needing to drop the rock in order to surface for air… this was by far the coolest picture I was able to find of this… I see myself as the swimmer on the left. This is where I stop trying to separate parts of my life — I am emotionally upset, I still check my blood sugar, I don’t assume it’s one thing or the other, I just have to treat the whole Sophie, as a whole, in whatever manner is required at that moment. And at this moment while I need to change my pod, and do a bunch of other things I’m sure… all I can think about is how violated I felt when my doctor took my PDM away and made changes to it without explaining or including me in the decisions. I accept that my reaction to this is my own, but it does not make it any less valid. It’s been over a week and I can still feel that empty exposed feeling of sitting in that doctor’s office being told off, and then they didn’t even know how to make the changes properly and had to then hand my PDM off to yet another person to adjust/correct/fix whatever it was they were doing. I don’t even remember what she was saying or what they did. All I know is that it doesn’t seem to have done much, the best thing that has happened for my diabetes since then has been going back to crossfit — while a bit scary, it seemed to have a great effect on my numbers for the rest of the day — I will need to remember to eat more, but my post-workout numbers were encouraging. Ending on a high note… planning on working out again tomorrow… TBD

 

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

Walking on Fire

fire-walkI thought my feet were just dry… I should remember to put lotion on them. I did, it didn’t change. I found myself taking off my flip flops when sitting down and putting the bottoms of my feet on the cool floor, soon the patch of floor under each foot was warm too, so I would move them around… I had never done this before. I’m pretty sure I’m not imagining this. I’m pretty sure it’s diabetes related. I’m pretty sure there’s a name for this. I’m going to pretend it’s not real. that worked for a few days. I think I know what it is, but I’m not going to google it, because maybe it will still go away. It’s not going away. I think it’s neuropathy. What does this mean? Is this what my feet are going to feel like forever? What if they get worse? that happens, right? I thought I was years away from “complications” what the fuck is this?! I’m back in half denial about even having diabetes and it feels like my feet are going to burn off any second. Steady numbers, minimal insulin, and burning feet? WTF. I just don’t understand what I did to deserve this. Why did this happen? the burning feet, the diabetes, the bipolar, the alcoholism… how shitty was I in a former life that I get to deal with all of this? Why can’t I just be normal?!

Or how strong must I be to be able to overcome these things? That is a question one of my good friends would ask me. I would grimace at her and tell her that she’s full of shit. Here’s to hoping she’s right.

Diabetic Burnout

burnout0

Turns out that fake smiles are the earliest sign of burnout — Dr. Sara Gottfried MD

I found that statement very interesting. Lately I’ve been exploring ways to influence by body (and my diabetes), such as diet and supplements, exercise, meditation, eastern medicine… and so forth. One of the more interesting things I have Dr. Sara Gottfried’s book, The Hormone Cure. Based on the quiz from her website, the non-diabetic related symptoms indicate that I am suffering the affects of both high and low cortisol*. While that statement may sound contradictory, when I read more, it described me to a tee. To summarize, cortisol is the hormone that your body puts out under high stress, the long term affect of consistent stress results in the burnout of your body’s ability to produce cortisol, resulting in low cortisol — which then comes with it’s own repercussions. Basically, staying stressed out all the time is bad, in many ways. We know this. It is not a shocking discovery, even though I appreciate understanding the science behind it. I have known for years that I needed to balance out my stress, I thought that if I just took time off from work that it would be enough — but even when I was on vacation, I was so tightly wound, my body effectively never got a rest. While there is no cause for diabetes, alcoholism, or bipolar — I can tell you for sure that staying stressed out all the time does not help any of those conditions either. This knowledge of the cortisol highs and lows has reenergized me to take care of myself in this part of my life. In brief stints where I have been able to step back and relax, I have felt the effects — the wave of calm — but I would always write it off as a “nice time,” but not something I could ever maintain. Realizing scientifically the damage I have caused/am causing in my body, I will add that to the reasons I think of when I take a relaxing breath, or the moment I take for myself, away from whatever it is — I want to take care of my body.

This may seem like a side step, but I promise it’s related…recently, I have seen more loss in the diabetic community than I’m used to — usually it’s all positive, or immediate problems — “I keep running low,” “Which pump should I get?” — but yesterday morning I read about a man who lost his 33 year old wife to heart failure, caused by type 1 diabetes. That was a reality check. Then all the support he received — and more stories of loss. It really puts things into perspective. If taking a few minutes a day to meditate, being calmer and less quick to retort, eating better and listening to my body… those all seem so trivial and easy, if they are going to serve me in keeping my life.

 

*Clearly, this is not official medical information and you (and I) should consult a physician for specific personal medical advice (ESPECIALLY when you have a condition such as diabetes, which affects all aspects of your body)

Dear Diabetes, you’re the only one who thinks my jokes are funny

(This started as a text to a friend who is also a sober diabetic, but then I decided against reaching out #bigsurprise)
You know those jokes that people make in a room full of alcoholics, that sober people wouldn’t think were funny… I feel like there are things I can’t say because only diabetes would understand. For example, right now I’m playing that stupid game where I know that I’m low, but I don’t feel like fixing it, so I’m just sitting here with a sprite next to me, refusing to drink it, even though I just tested and I know I should drink it, and I know I should send this, but I won’t — and I just tested again so I tell myself that I’m fine even though I’m really not, I’m just less not fine (I’m avoiding putting numbers in this post because I don’t want to admit how stupid I am/how bad my choices are/were). And another test and even less not fine, almost regular fine*. boom. I was right. I am fine. This does not bode well for me taking care of myself next time. I’ve already started putting the meter under my pillow when it beeps for a low in the night, like an unwanted alarm clock. What happens next time? Do I make it? If I nap, will I wake up again? If I don’t, who will take Casey? Nvm, that’s a stupid question, of course my dad would take her. You thought I was ready to grow up and take proper care of myself..? Jokes on you, I prefer to act like an adolescent and refuse to do anything, even if it is in my best interest.

*the “fine” that you say to other people when you’re not fine, but you just want them to go away

[I did eventually come back up to a normal level, but not because I ate anything, I’m not sure why, it’s a mystery]

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. 

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…

I feel sick. I might die?

So I’m not feeling well today — just a bit of a cold, but yesterday I had a low grade fever and I freaked out, all I could think about was decreased healing and how my diabetic friend was recently hospitalized for flu complications…ahhhh! Anyway, so after I recovered from my bout of hypochondria, I started wondering what the real complications were, rather than the just the exaggerated ones in my head. I’ve been wondering about possible complications (i.e. negative consequences) lately anyway, so it seemed like a good time to investigate further. As far as I can tell, most long-term complications are attributed to consistently high blood sugar — Here’s one of the more succinct summaries I’ve found:

“People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing a number of serious health problems. Consistently high blood glucose levels can lead to serious diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves and teeth. In addition, people with diabetes also have a higher risk of developing infections. In almost all high-income countries, diabetes is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower limb amputation.” (International Diabetes Federation — who knew there was a Federation for diabetes… it makes us sound like we’re in Star Trek or something)

Anyway, that all sounds rather gnarly — makes me grateful that I’ve been fighting the lows lately rather than the highs, although then I might pass out — which would then take me back to the glucagon issue… which then got me wondering, other than the generic “pass out,”  what are the real possible consequences of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia…

According to WebMD…Symptoms can be different depending on how low your blood sugar level drops.

  • Mild hypoglycemia can make you feel hungry or like you want to vomit. You could also feel jittery or nervous. Your heart may beat fast. You may sweat. Or your skin might turn cold and clammy.
  • Moderate hypoglycemia often makes people feel short-tempered, nervous, afraid, or confused. Your vision may blur. You could also feel unsteady or have trouble walking.
  • Severe hypoglycemia can cause you to pass out. You could have seizures. It could even cause a coma or death.

Wow. “coma or death.” that’ll sober you up quick. oh wait, I don’t drink.

**Sidebar: I felt a bit shaky just then, I tested and I’m at 56. Fuck me. Hold on, going to eat something, be right back. Real thought process: What should I eat? I could have those powdered doughnuts I really like. I’d have to drive my car. shit. I might pass out and crash/die. I could walk. fuck. same problem. I guess I’ll have juice.**

And I’m back… so anyway… where was I… oh right, coma or death. fan-fucking-tastic. I think that’s a post-ender right there. Even if it isn’t, I think I’m going to sign off here. I’m waiting to recover from this low, irritated as hell, shaking like I have Parkinson’s (#notappropriate #don’tcare), and unable to focus… and maybe a little short-tempered… just maybe (see above symptoms of hypoglycemia). Happy Diabetes! woo.

An Explanation of the Frustration

On October 4, 2013 I went to urgent care during my lunch break because I thought I had a yeast infection…and I did, but I also had/have Type 1 Diabetes. I was 25 at the time, who gets diagnosed with Type 1 at 25, well me apparently, although to be fair, based on research I have done since, it’s not as rare as I previously thought, but seriously #solame.

So, one long stupid medical story later, I walk out of there with a diagnosis of diabetes (not yet confirmed as type 1 at this point), with a blood glucose meter, a bunch of prescriptions to pick up, and lab tests to be taken and an absolute bewilderment and denial.

So let’s make this more complicated, within the year prior to being diagnosed with diabetes I made peace with being gay, started the journey of living sober and I was diagnosed as BiPolar — so I had spent most of the previous year wrapping my head around those things, no where in my reality did I believe that I had the capacity to handle anything else, let alone anything else as life changing as diabetes. 

That survival/denial mode lasted for a bit, I went back to the doctor a few times, confirmed a Type 1 diagnosis, started on insulin, but over my first few months I became dissatisfied with the #JustDontDie type of care and sought out a more proactive doctor — this is where I’m at right now.

The moral of this story is that I’m learning to live with all of this. As cliche as it may sound, my goal is to thrive, rather than just survive. The guidance, advice and information I have received/been able to find so far does not adequately address thriving…only getting by, advice I am classifying as #JustDontdie, I am not interested in this type of advice. I want to learn the nitty gritty detailed information to help me thrive, not just survive each day.

I am an engineer by trade, sometimes painfully logical… like Star Trek Spock logical. I want all the details, all of the data, I will then process that data and determine the variables and the path that will lead me to the desired solution, the conclusion that I want — which in this case is to be a healthy happy person, in spite of everything else, any challenges, conditions, problems that I may incur.

So that’s where I’m at — I have started this blog as an outlet for my frustration, a chronicle of this journey, and to hold myself accountable for proactively seeking out information and resources that will support my goal of thriving as a healthy and happy person — and to put this information and my journey out into the universe with the hope of helping others, even if it’s only one other person, with their journey.

**Any entries pre-dating this one have been added to help give a full chronicle of my journey, give additional information and sometimes clearer context to future posts, and to help me process what has come before this point**

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