I wish I could be 17 again…

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17 was an amazing age for me. For starters I was NOT a diabetic, I was doing well in school, I had a girlfriend I loved very much, a good job, a car, life was grand.

Now here I am 11 years later, I have diabetes, I take insulin, I have high blood pressure and cholesterol, no relationship and I hate my job. Some days I find myself saying “hey god can I have a rewind button please? I don’t deserve this…” Side note I’m not religious. 

Becoming a diabetic I feel has ruined my life. I don’t have nearly as much fun as I used to. I’m always worrying about if my sugar is high/ on it’s way low, if I eat this how will it effect my blood sugar, etc. etc. etc. I’ve had appointments with a  CDE I can carb count and all that jazz and while this method works well for most people I still feel my body likes to do it’s own thing.

Another huge stressor is not letting some people know I’m diabetic. Imagine having to do finger sticks and needle pokes on the down low. What a headache.

I just don’t have the energy anymore to get on top of this. I check my sugar about 4+ daily, 2 doses of lantus in the am/pm and a few humalog shots in between. I want to be as on  top of it as all the other bloggers who’s stories I read who twitters I follow. 

 

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Love & Diabetes

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Everyone is different but for me love and the feeling of being in love/loved makes me a healthier person.

I love my family and they love me which makes happy but having that non family person you love, that you’re in a relationship with, makes life incredibly… I’m struggling for the word I want to use to describe what being in love and loved by your significant other does me but I’m pretty sure you all know what I mean.

It’s been 5 months and 2 days since the longest relationship of my life ended. It was far from a perfect relationship but it was a good relationship and I was happy. Being happy in this relationship made living (or battling) with diabetes almost non existent. She was supportive, she worked with me on eating properly and avoiding things that would spike my sugar. She helped clean up a ridiculous mess I created during a low battle (read the May entry about feeling like I was going to die). She was my rock.

She didn’t care (when I say this I mean she practically didn’t notice or say anything) when I added my Dexcom constant glucose monitor to my body. The same could be said about when I added the t:slim pump. She was always a little leery of poking my finger to check my sugars but that’s ok. She took the time to learn how in the event I needed a glucagon pen to inject me with that as well.

Besides my diabetes she, even if I didn’t feel she understood always, stood by me and all my other issues all the time. Now that she’s gone though, my diabetes has become a daily nightmare, my good eating habits have gone out the window and I’m so distracted by my emotions because she’s gone that it’s virtually impossible to refocus on getting things in line. I mean don’t get me wrong I function everyday, hang out with friends, go out/trips, etc. but besides what focus I need to put into those things the rest of my mind is still focused on her.

My friend posted a quote on his Facebook today and it said “I’d be willing to spend the rest of my life begging you for another change.” I instantly replied that I’m stealing that because it is so true for me.

Food

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First I’d like to say thank you to all of you who replied with messages of support. It is much appreciated!

I love food. I specifically love all the food that I feel I shouldn’t due to my diabetes. It’s the food that taste good, high in carbohydrates, it’s food that makes carb counting difficult.

I chose to write about this today for a multitude of reasons. First, last night I was at a meeting and I had… 6? Pieces of pizza. Yeah, moderations went out the window. At most places you can ask for the nutrition information, look it up online or resort to carb counting. Which admittedly I still suck at carb counting. I typically under count, sometimes over count and occasionally hit the nail on the head.

Back when I had an A1C of 7.1 I had drastically changed my diet. I was eating only eggs, cheese, greek yogurt, fruit on occasion, salad and meat. I cut out alcohol with the exception of wine occasionally I was doing a great job. I lost my way over summer but am contemplating trying my own self working diet again.

Update from when I wrote the above draft…

Last night I went to a friends birthday party. Took my Lantus prior to going to the party. Gave myself 20U with the thinking being “Okay I’ll take 20 tonight and skip the 10 in the morning because I know I’m going to eat like shit.” Quick synopsis of the night… Chips, dip, bread, cake, frosting, you get the point. Fast forward to this morning and I woke up with a BG of 124. That started my day (I should say afternoon because I got home at 3am and didn’t get up and check till basically Noon) off on the right foot.

I figure that I’ll continue to have this battle with food vs myself and my diabetes as long as I am not putting in 200% effort to have low carb lean diet in my life and cheat with the sweet things in life.

Diabetes electronics overload

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In my previous post I wrote about how I had gone from daily injections to a t:slim pump in addition to my Dexcom G4 constant glucose monitor. In this post I’ll focus more on those two items and how I may have set myself up for failure.

First, I’d just like to say, I LOVE my t:slim and Dexcom devices. I have no qualms with them what so ever. Actually that’s a lie. As far as my t:slim I wish there was an alternative to tubing (yes I know OmniPod), I could refill the existing cartridge and that I could control it from my iPhone. On the Dexcom side I wish it could be controlled and transmitted to my iPhone, the sensor was even smaller or could be implanted for permanent use. I’ve read the articles I know many of the things I seek are coming down the pipeline but the pipeline can be too long sometimes.

According to my CDE she couldn’t think of a person she’d seen who started with a constant glucose monitor (CGM) first and then added a pump. Usually it was the other way around. I was able to micromanage my diabetes with my Dexcom for 2 months prior to starting my pump. It was great. I felt very in control but I had un realistic expectations of my control at the same time. I would take my insulin as needed, eat, watch my sugar go up, watch it stay up and not give my insulin time to work. I created this false sense in my head that if my sugar rose with a meal that I was causing damage. This thought only got worse with the addition of the pump.

I was already self-conscious adding the CGM to my life. Adding the t:slim only made that image of myself worse. Immediately after I started pumping I had difficulty not only managing my sugar but managing it in my life. I would catch things with the tubing, I would disconnect too many times a day causing me to not have enough basal. I was feeling that sites were sometimes going bad faster than 3 days. I would catch the tubing several times in the 3 days and then while giving myself a bolus or even my basal weren’t being absorbed well enough because I had the tubing pull on the site.

My other issue was the change in insulins. I was having such difficult with trying to figure out what the Novolog wanted to do. I was causing lows then highs constantly because the Novolog just wasn’t keeping my sugar down as I was used to. Add in the CGM and my obsession with what the display was showing me and you can see how I was getting myself into trouble.

Now none of this was the t:slim or Dexcom’s fault. As much as I would like to blame the switch to Novolog it wouldn’t be fair. I’m considering giving it another go but I’m just not sure.

The one thing I am sure of though is that I need to get that A1C back down to 7.1 instead of this 8.5 I stand at. 

 

The failing diabetic

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So it’s been quite a while since a wrote a blog post. In that time I’ve gone from being a diabetic in great control of his diabetes to a failing diabetic.

Where to start is the question I’m pondering as write this. Shortly after I wrote my last post I started using a t:slim insulin pump and Novolog. For anyone who doesn’t know (because I have so many people who read my blog) I was using Lantus and Humalog in the form daily injections. I felt that a pump would help me get that 7.1 to a 7.0 or better and so did my doctor. Fast forward to my visit a couple weeks ago and I’m now at an A1C of 8.5. Insert sad face.

From the get go I was having difficult with pumping. Working with my CDE we were able to get my numbers pretty close to what they should be in a very controlled setting/meal. The problem was my body, pump, new insulin, etc. when eating any meal with over 30 carbohydrates. I’m sure the added stress that was added into my life by another medical procedure shortly after taking up pumping and my 2.5 year relationship walking out the door, I feel failure and an increased A1C was inevitable.

After having so many up’s and down’s pumping I finally to give it up. I haven’t been pumping for around 2 months maybe a little longer at this point. To a degree I’ve regained slightly more control than I was having pumping. In addition to discontinuing my pump I also gave up on my Dexcom constant glucose monitor. I’ll delve more into this on my next post.

So there you have a quick catch up folks. RowdyDiabetic the failing diabetic.

Hypoglycemia- I thought I was going to die

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Wednesday night I went to Red Robin for dinner and the rest was an almost deadly nightmare.

In the past 1.5 months I’ve cut breads, grains, oats, etc. from my diet so I order a burger protein style with a side salad. I skip on ordering an alcoholic drink and just have water. I asked for the nutrition sheet so I could count the carbs. Okay looks like I’m going to have 90 (burger was 75 with the buns and I had 2 salads + dressing). Being a good diabetic I checked my sugar before eating. My AccuChek Aviva and Dexcom both said I was at 190. My last round of Humalog was 4 units at 3:15. The time now is 7:26 so even if I am a little over on the carb count I’m already starting high. I dial up my Humalog pen to 9 and give it to myself. I eat dinner, I even cheat and have a couple fries off my dates plate.

We wrap dinner up and decide not to go see the movie we were going to see, opting instead of a rental via the AppleTV. At 835 I check my Dexcom and it reads 80. I think to myself “Cool I guess I did count fairly well maybe a little over but hey it brought that high down too.” I start to feel really warm, even sweating a bit. I ask my date, roommate and brother if it’s hot in here. They all say no. Knowing how my body lets me know my sugar is getting low I pull out my Dexcom. The time is now 840 and it’s saying I’m 69. 

My first instinct was to find my glucose tabs. I popped 4-6 of them in a panic because I started to feel worse. I also grab a little shooter bottle of a glucose drink. I drink a sip of it before I hit the ground. I call out for my brother who comes in and immediately asks what’s wrong and what do I need. I told him my sugar was low and getting lower. I ask him to help get me into a comfortable position and to help me drink my glucose drink.

Then when I didn’t think it could get any worse and I was hoping the tabs would bring me up, it got worse. At this point in time I’m down to around 47. I’m throwing up all over, my roommates, date and brother are all talking about calling 911 which I’m vocally against. I can’t swallow for some reason (I had this harsh indigestion feeling) and they all keep threatening if I don’t finish the glucose drink they’ll call.

I my sugar comes up to 90 but I’m still out of it and quickly my sugar falls again to 55. I begin to think to myself that either going to have to call 911 or die. I’m not going to be able to beat hypoglycemia by myself this time. I have never felt so scared, so weak and so close to “seeing the light.”

Somehow I managed to come about enough just before midnight to climb into the shower under close observation from my date to clean up. Before she helped me into bed we checked my sugar and it was in the 90’s.

I thankfully woke up at 4:45 the next morning alive. I felt fine minus a small dull headache that felt like a mild hangover. I walked out expecting to find my house partially cleaned up of all the stomach contents I projected but to my surprise my roommate and date had cleaned/sanitized the everywhere. I got ready for my day with my buddies and whenever something wasn’t going our way I would just chime in “Well at least I’m alive.”

Impatiently waiting to start pumping

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I am literally impatiently waiting to start pumping. I don’t think it’s because I’m eager to try my Tandem t:slim but rather that I’m eager to find a reason to return it and switch to an OmniPod.

I mention in a previous post that I am fairly new to diabetes world and insulin use. I am even more new to devices such as constant glucose monitors and insulin pumps. Feel free to call me a bad consumer for not doing my homework but I literally thought Medtronic’s pump was the only one on the market and Tandem showed up to take some business. After I had put in the order for a t:slim it was then I realized there is multiple offerings in the insulin pump world.  “Crap,” I thought and cursed myself for not utilizing my Google skills better.

As I further utilized Google in my search of insulin pumps, I realized my choice of a t:slim wasn’t a complete mistake, until I stumbled upon the OmniPod. Then I was really kicking myself in the rear. A insulin pump that is self contained, no tubes, waterproof and will make me feel less like my diabetes invades my life, why didn’t my doctor stop me and talk options before?

I was really feeling like a consumer failure at this point because I rarely if ever dive into buying a product without doing my research. In this case I just knew I didn’t want a Medtronic (I’d rather stick with multiple daily injections) because it just didn’t appeal to me and when I saw the t:slim, it’s slick design and relatively small size I was sold. Not knowing about the OmniPod I had finally accepted that if I didn’t want to constantly be poking myself in the abdomen that I would have to be connected to a pump by tubing.

So I submitted an interest card to OmniPod for one of their dummy units to test out. I almost immediately received a phone call from one of their phone reps or who was going to forward my information to a local rep. The local rep called almost as quickly and we schedule a time to meet so I could try a unit out and see their product. I was amazed at the new OmniPod’s size vs the previous one and that this device (yes I do have to carry the PDM nearby to send the pod it’s instructions) would leave me “unattached.” I loved that I could put it on different locations on my body (wish I could do this with my Dexcom), that it took care of doing the insertion with a push of a button and it was fairly discreet. No disconnecting for showers, swimming or having to worry about sleeping with tubing and the pump. I was really wishing someone had mentioned the OmniPod to me or that I hadn’t been a lazy consumer and utilized Google better. I wore the unit for 24 hours and didn’t feel that it impeded my life really at all. The few things I did find myself thinking about were: having two devices on my abdomen, while smaller it is mildly bulky and caused me to be distracted while trying to sleep and having both my Dexcom and the OmniPod on my body really made me self conscious. Yes I’ll go there with this next comment but I literally was concerned with “how are the girls in my future going to feel about this thing.” Incase anyone does to decide to read this eventually and make a comment, I know my health and managing my diabetes should come first and it does, even if that previous comment doesn’t relay that. That has been the one reason I have kept the t:slim and not returned it so I can get an OmniPod. I have this feeling that I might feel less self conscious a insertion site and tube to a pump than having the device all right there in “those,” situations. 

To sum all this up now that I’m completely off topic from what I originally intended to write in this post… I have a t:slim and all the supplies sitting in a box waiting for my training from one of their trainers/clinical diabetes educators. I’ve been delayed because my doctor and my personal CDE felt I needed to prove I can carb count better (more so put in the effort ). It’s finally scheduled though for the end of this month at which point I’ll have 30 days from training to decide if I can deal with being “attached,” to my t:slim or if I’ll settle for possibly having awkward moments from the detached OmniPod.  

 

Digital/Electronic Diabetic

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When I was first diagnosed with diabetes I didn’t do much to track my blood glucose (BG’s). The first time I realized that this wasn’t going away I decided that maybe I will get better about my BG’s if I input them on my iPhone (which is never more than 2-3 feet away from me). I started with using UTS Diabetes. It allowed to me have an iPhone app to input my BG’s and a website to log into as well.

I briefly took a hiatus from logging my BG’s and one day suddenly realized my UTS app was gone. Ok… Cool… Not… Checking their website and a little Google action let me know that it wasn’t available anymore. Time to find a new solution. Enter Glucose Buddy. I tried the free version and liked it enough to purchase the Pro version. Glucose buddy was my go to App. I could input BG’s, insulin/medications, carbs, food, A1C’s, activity, BP’s and weight. I felt this was a better solution for not only myself but my endocrinologist as well because you could quickly scroll through all the information and even see fancy little color coded graphs.

Then I got a Dexcom. A Dexcom G4 Platinum in black to be exact. I continued to use Glucose Buddy Pro but I also went out of my way to purchase Windows 7 and Parallels so I could run Dexcom’s Studio software. I quickly found it redundant to input BG’s in Glucose Buddy while at the same time entering them on my G4 as a calibration. On the flip side I can’t enter every blood sugar into the Dexcom because then I’m over calibrating. So I said to myself “Ok there has to be a smart way to do this.” Then I found it. Glooko! I had to purchase a couple pieces of equipment but Glooko syncs my Accu-Chek Aviva to it’s app. To be honest besides syncing my meter I haven’t really played with any of it’s features. Usually I sync my meter(s) once a week so the sync doesn’t take very long.

Now when I head off to the doctors instead of bringing my meter and laptop (so he can see my Dexcom Studio information) I just bring the laptop.  Soon there will be the addition of a Tandem t:slim insulin pump to this digital/electronic diabetics arsenal. Thankfully it’s software runs on my Mac. I firmly believe that adding the Dexcom, Glooko (or any other application with similar features) has been watch helped me achieve lowering my A1C down from 8.0 to 7.1 and helping me beat & keep my diabetes in check.

Joining the online diabetes community

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To anyone that reads or happens upon this blog… Hello!

It was not until recently when my endocrinologist and I decided that I may as well start using an insulin pump sooner than later that I discovered how large the online diabetic community is. There are so many type 1 diabetics (T1D’s), type 2 diabetics (T2D’s), pumpers, etc. out there sharing their stories and lives. When no one in your life is a T1D it makes you feel less alone.

A quick bit about my story. I am a type 1 diabetic, I use Lantus and Humalog insulin, I wear a Dexcom G4 Platinum constant glucose monitor (CGM) and this month am converting to a Tandem t:slim insulin pump and Novolog insulin. I have no been a diabetic my whole life thus I feel this has added to my troubles kicking bad habits. I first found out I was a diabetic in 2010, 25 years into my life. At first my doctors treated me like as a type 2 with oral medications. It eventually became clear that I was a type 1 (or type 1.5 LADA) and would require insulin.

I had been managing my diabetes by taking the medications prescribed to me but maybe checking my sugar 1 time a day if that. My endocrinologist was not happy with me at all to say the least. So I started to monitor better and between monitoring and my A1C barely coming down the decision was made to convert me to Lantus. At first I was using Lantus one time a day taking 5 units in the evening. As time passed on in 2011 we added Humalog insulin into my routine. 1-2 before meals. I continued to have issues managing my sugar and my high numbers caused me all kinds of stress. In 2012 I finally faced the fact that I was a true type 1 diabetic that would have to manage my blood sugars with insulin. After seeing my endocrinologist we finally came up with a real game plan. 10 units of Lantus twice daily and a sliding scale with a 1-10 ratio of Humalog for meals.

Anyone who has diabetes will tell you that multiple daily injections (MDI’s) is not the thing. You have to find spots to give yourself the injections, sometimes they hurt, sometimes they cause bruises and occasionally they’ll bleed.

To move things along I’m going to summarize where I am now. I was invited to be part of a diabetes study if I passed some requirements. Things were moving along well until they came back with A1C and it was 8.7. This was odd because I had blood work drawn 2 days after that draw and it came back as 8.4. Unfortunately they had already called and said I could not participate because I was over 8.4 prior to me receiving my own labs results. The experience was good though because this is when I was first exposed to the word CGM or constant glucose monitor. “Wait wait,” I said “There is a device that will constantly tell me roughly what my sugar is every 5 minutes?” I made a mental note to myself to bring this up to my endocrinologist at my next visit (starting w/ Jan this year he had me coming in monthly).

At my next appointment, only a month later, I asked my A1C be checked again. It was 8.0… Ok some progress but not enough. My doctor agreed that a CGM would be of benefit to me and when I asked about if I would eventually be on a pump he shook his head up and down and said yes. I said ok well how about the t:slim to go with the fancy colored screen on my soon to be owned Dexcom. I told myself I wasn’t going to let diabetes beat me anymore and I want to have an A1C of 7.0 or better.

Well it was a little over a month later and a couple weeks with the Dexcom that I was in his office again because my pump had arrived. His nurse brought in the test to check my A1C. As she poked my finger I thought to myself “This better come in somewhere under 8,” as I had taken drastic measured in changing my diet and micromanaging my sugars with my Dexcom and Aviva glucometer. The doctor came in and we started chatting. About 10 minutes into the appointment he was taking notes when I looked over and saw at the top of the paper “A1C 7.1.” I said “Is that my A1C? 7.1?” he said “Oh yes we started taking and I forgot to tell you the news.” I immediately started crying and we aren’t talking about just a few tears. I did it. I am .1 away from the “Golden Number 7,” as I call it.

So that about sums up how I learned and to date have been managing my diabetes. Hopefully with my new tools, my new attitude towards diabetes and the tremendous amount of other diabetics sharing their stories I will reach that .7 and until there is a cure maybe even get close to what I call “Platinum Number 6.”

Feel free to follow me and my story.

Please note. I am not a medical professional and do not pretend to be one. Do not take or use anything I say to manage your own diabetes. Do not attempt to manage your diabetes based off posts or stories written on this blog. You should only manage your diabetes with your medical professional. The post and stories written on this blog are my own and the care of my diabetes is done by my medical professional.