Thursday, January 26, 2012

In My Life, I've Loved Them All

So in the past few blogs, especially, I have received an enormous amount of outreach. I can't believe how many people read these stupid little entries. But I'm glad it's a form of entertainment, knowledge, support, and maybe just to fill time for some.

I have received, e-mails, Facebook messages, texts, phone calls, twitter shout outs, and posts from people pouring out their support. Everyone wants to know what more they can do and how they can help. I'm not sure I've ever felt more loved.

I mean, some of these are to be expected: family members, life long friends, and people who can relate. But others are strangers. They are people I've passed briefly in life to tell me they are hoping and praying for me and for things to get better. I am shocked by the amount of humanity that has come from these. It's funny because in some ways, during times in my life, I have felt so alone. And, now, I realize I never really was. I always had a lot of these people in the shadows of my life who remembered me or thought of me from time to time. That's a great feeling to realize.

I want you all to know that I appreciate it so much. Words can't describe what some of you have given me.

My husband fills my ears with kind words. My parents have been more amazing than ever. My sister calls me out of the blue to make sure I'm ok, even though her life is amazingly crazy. My best friend texts me all day long to make sure I'm happy and healthy (as healthy as I can be.) My life long friend Megan has reached out to me in several platforms. My new bestie on FB checks on me daily to let me know I'm loved. My employer/mom of the kids I'm with has talked to me and understood the trials I am going through, as she has had her own. My husband's cousin reached out to me in an incredible way that made me tear up, even though I have not spent any time with her physically. (V-we should change that.) My cousins wife has confided in me that she, too, is facing diabetes and let me know I'm helping her. Two of my best friends/cousins are telling me constantly they haven't done enough for me--even though they are doing it every day. A friend's parent reached out to me and let me know she's praying. An old teacher, fabulous mentor, and all around role model messages me to let me know she thinks I'm strong.

If I have forgotten any one, believe me, you are not forgotten. You are loved. And I thank God every day that I have so many special people in my life. And so many more that I know I am touching--they are touching me as well.

This diabetes thing isn't easy. I'm going to cry. A lot. And get angry. Some times. And not want to take care of it. Occasionally. But don't think that if I do these things in a public forum that I think I am alone. I know I'm not. You all have showed me.

In my life, I love you more...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Don't Nod Your Head Because You Know That I'm Right.


I am fucking pissed. I am done having fucking diabetes. I get it. Everyone has shit happen to them. But fuck that theory. 

I didn't give this to myself. I didn't say, "Hey, how the hell can I really fuck up my body by giving myself an illness that NO ONE knows how it happens." I'm fucking sick of explaining to all the lousy, non-educated people that think it's an obesity problem and that I ate too many goddamn cheeseburgers and drank too many sodas and ate candy until my pancreas said, "Fuck you, I'm outty 5000." I'm even fucking angrier that I used to think that shit. I didn't understand it. I still don't understand this stupid fucking disease. I knew I'd get it, too. I even said to a few people, I'm gonna fucking get Diabetes some day, just watch. Tim and I used to joke that my diabetes was flaring up. If I cursed myself, that's a fucking fucked up fucking twist of fate. 

I don't want to check my meter any more. I'm pissed that I have to prick my finger four times a day, AND pay for it. I really hate all the money stuff. It's dumb. You think eating healthy is expensive? Try buying insulin. Something your body requires to break down food. REQUIRES. MEANING NOT A FUCKING OPTION.

I'm pissed that I have to watch a bunch of people not have it. Especially around meals. I love taking bites into things right as they get there. But be careful, if you take your insulin too soon, you'll pass out. So wait to do it until you see food. Do you know how goddamn annoying it is to snack? Holidays suck balls. Going out to eat is a pain in the motherfucking ass.*Although I have to admit, my husband and my best friend/business partner are the best about waiting with me, which is great because I probably eat with them 90% of the time I'm not working.

I'm annoyed as all get out I can't proceed with everything normally. I have to pay attention to my body like no other.

I'm hella fucking mad that I had to give up smoking. I get it, it's a horrible habit. It makes you smell, and hurts your teeth, your organs, you circulation, your brain, your fingernails, everything. But it was fucking good to get pissed and smoke a cigarette. Or that first cig in the morning. That was a good one. Or how about while drinking. OOOOOhhhhh to smoke and drink. *It's been almost five weeks! Yay I can breathe easier.* But you know, I don't meet people as easily. Or enjoy deep inhales of tasty menthol. You don't know if you're gonna get cancer. Let's face it, lots of people smoke and never get it. My great grandmother was a champion closet smoker. She never had cancer. She was a rockstar. If I get fucking lung cancer I am going to be pissed I didn't keep fucking smoking.

I'm mad I can't drink regular coke like I used to. Or eat chocolate all the time. Or binge eat right before my period. Or not just go to sleep without pricking my finger and injecting myself. I'm mad I pass out in gas stations. And have to pull the car over while driving. And put the baby down while she's crying and needs comfort. Or not have to be in constant contact with a doctor about diabetes care--although, again, I'm lucky he hasn't been annoyed with all my phone calls and is patient and caring with me and understands when I cry in his office. #dontjudgeme

I'm mad I have to wake up in the middle of the night. And soon, its gonna be very uncomfortable to lay in one position all night some times. I'm mad that I get so high in the morning. And not the good kind when I'd smoke pot all morning. No. it means that my blood sugar shoots up (it's called dawn phenomenon) and I have to inject myself asap so I can eat to bring it down. If that doesn't bring it down, I chug water and pee as much as possible to get the blood flowing and the sugar out. Sounds like a ton of fucking fun, right? IT'S NOT.

I can't exercise without my blood sugar jumping to a 290. I took a walk. Not briskly. I strolled. I took a thirty minute stroll around the fucking block. And SPIKE! I used to be the best runner. I used to walk tot he gym and then run. And I'd feel great. Then I'd follow it up with a can of Coke and some hard boiled eggs. Or leftovers from chinese the night before. Best. Breakfast. Ever.

I just don't want it. I know it's not going any where. Until I go. But I'm not giving up that easily. Diabetes can go fuck itself.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Never Thought it Would be This Hard

When I was first diagnosed, my blood sugars were so high, they hooked me up to an IV and injected me with insulin every two hours for two days to bring down my sugars. I swore to myself I would not let it be this out of hand any more so I didn't have to go through the embarrassment, pain, or hassle of insulin. Believe it or not, I was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic.

Two endocrinologists and one year later, my blood work as done once again. My doctor couldn't figure out why my blood sugar readings were so normal, but my A1C was at an 11.7.  They tell diabetics to strive for under 6. It was a Friday morning I had my appointment. I forgot to charge my phone that night, so it died. When I got to work at 5:00, I put my phone on the charger and realized I had six messages from my doctor urging me to call him. Of course, office hours were past time, so I called and left a message. Although I was nervous, I decided I would call first thing Monday morning. That let me sleep that night.

Saturday morning, my husband and I received a phone call from my doctor. "Charli, you need to go to the emergency room right away. Your blood sugars are in the 700 range" he said. "I will call them and let them know you are coming, but cancel all your plans for the day."

He believed I had Ketoacidocis.* The ER checked me. They found few ketones, but they did find what my doctor had suspected for months: I had Type 1.5 Diabetes, or LADA**. Which meant my pancreas slowly stopped producing insulin until it decides to just quit. Every once in a while, we believe my pancreas is still trying to crank out the insulin, making it very difficult to take the insulin I need without overdosing and getting low blood sugars. (I had never experienced lows before. They are scary.)

They also found that my kidneys were damaged from the Type 2 medicine I was on, along with my liver. This was even better news.

What this meant was that I would never be able to go without insulin injections again, unless in some wild dream they came up with a cure. This made me incredibly scared.

I told myself, as well as my husband, lots of friends and family, and the doctor that I NEVER wanted a pump. Call me vein and crazy, but I was afraid what I would look like in a bathing suit, and in a formal dress. I didn't want to connect it. I knew nothing about my disease. I thought if I was going to have a pump, it meant I was doing something wrong and I would never be able to be independent from my disease. I was scared people would see it and judge me for having a pager. I remember joking with a kid in high school and calling him Insulin Boy. (Sorry Brad.) I was afraid of the cost and stipulations. I was afraid of having sex and knocking it off. I was afraid my husband, with his fear of needles, would never want to touch me again. I was afraid I would never be the same and no one would look at me the same. I was just scared.

Then I met Jess. She had a pump. And she got me thinking about it hard core. She introduced me to the DOC and they reached out to me and told me stories about their pumps. They told me funny stories. They told me scary stories. They told me painful stories. And they told me "Thank God for my pump and CGM*** " stories. They showed me pictures that made me cry, gasp, and wince. But it was what I needed.

About a week ago, I decided it was getting closer. I started doing research and asking more questions to the DOC. I looked at all the pump companies and saw what they offered. I looked up assistance programs. I called my insurance to see what they covered--after my $1200 deductible, they covered 50-80% of the cost. Which means still, I'm looking at 1200-2500. I called my parents for help. I looked up studies to participate in. I looked into refurbished pumps and pumps from other countries that might be cheaper or help me better. I even looked at alternative medicine methods for a cure for diabetes.

Tonight, I talked to my doctor. Together, we decided I would go with medtronic. I have no idea how much I'll have to pay yet. Dr. G is giving the representative and counselor my information and we will set up a date in the next two weeks to get this bad boy in.

I have been crying all day. I'm still scared of everything I was before. But now, I know it will give me a better quality of life than I have been having the past couple of months. It won't make everything perfect, but it will regulate me more. I am excited for that. I am excited that my husband, my parents, my friends and some other family members are very supportive. And I am excited that I will have a new "pancreas." I am excited I won't have to carry my brief case of insulin any more. I am really excited I won't have to prick my fingers as much. Thats the best part.

I know I can do this. I have a lot of help. My doctor is awesome. And I ask a lot of questions. Plus, it will be around the time of JDRF**** in KC so I'll have physical support from people that are normally my electronic communication support.

I can't believe how little I knew at the beginning. I probably still know nothing. But at least I'm learning. I'm learning about my disease. I'm learning to take care of myself-both physically and mentally. I'm learning what this will do for me. I'm learning to forgive myself for not being perfect. I'm learning to love myself with diabetes. I'm learning I can do this.

*Wikipedia: Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication in patients with diabetes mellitus. It happens predominantly in those with type 1 diabetes, but it can occur in those with type 2 diabetes under certain circumstances. DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketone bodies that cause most of the symptoms and complications.[1] 

**Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults (LADA), also known as, Diabetes Type 1.5, is a term coined by Tuomi et al. in 1993 (Diabetes 42:359-362) to describe slow-onset Type 1 autoimmune diabetes in adults. The Expert Committee on the Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus (Diabetes Care, Volume 30, Supplement 1, January 2007) does not recognize the term LADA; rather, the Expert Committee includes LADA in the definition of Type 1 autoimmune diabetes (“Type 1 diabetes results from a cellular-mediated autoimmune destruction of the beta-cells of the pancreas. In Type 1 diabetes, the rate of beta-cell destruction is quite variable, being rapid in some individuals (mainly infants and children) and slow in others (mainly adults).”) The National Institutes of Health (NIDDK) defines LADA as “a condition in which Type 1 diabetes develops in adults.” LADA is a genetically-linked, hereditaryautoimmune disorder that results in the body mistaking the pancreas as foreign and responding by attacking and destroying the insulin-producing beta islet cells of the pancreas. Simply stated, autoimmune disorders, including LADA, are an "allergy to self.”

***WEBMD: CGM A continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) is an FDA-approved device that records blood sugar levels throughout the day and night. There are several approved devices -- Medtronic's MiniMed device, DexCom, and the Navigator, for example -- that can provide up to 288 blood sugar measurements every 24 hours. The system is used to measure an average bloodsugar for up to three days, while the person with diabetes continues daily activities at home.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Love and Other Drugs

See the movie? It's a story about a young woman with Stage One Parkinson's and her boyfriend (who happens to be a pharmaceutical rep) who supports her throughout her struggle in the beginning of their relationship. Its cheesy, sexy, and most definitely a chick flick. It's also the beginning of my inspiration.

I have LADA. It's a type of diabetes that is a lot like Type 1, only diagnosed later in life. It is an auto-immune disease. I have been very sick. I have recently been put on insulin and also been told to take part time disability. You see, I was originally diagnosed as Type 2 by my previous doctor. The medicine he put me on, two oral medications and an injection, really hurt me. It broke down my kidneys, my liver, and damaged my pancreas. Some days, I have overwhelming pain throughout my abdomen. My doctor does blood and urine analysis every month, as well as sonograms on my oversized thyroid and my busted up kidneys. I get sick quite easily because LADA is an auto-immune disease. And I'm almost always tired.

I also suffer from depression, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Borderline Personality disorder. Therapy and medicine helps the mental quite a bit.

But it's not easy. When I poke my finger and see a high number on my monitor, it's hard to stick a needle into myself. It's not easy to not cry when it hurts because I got a part of me that isn't fatty enough to stick the needle into. It's not easy to not pass out when blood comes out of my injection area. It's not easy to take care of it and get through it. It's not easy to have to stop what I'm doing and eat something or check my blood sugar levels. It plain sucks that my doctor is on speed dial and he talks to me more than some of my friends and family. I'm scared every day he's going to say, go into the ER immediately--because he says it on too many occasions.

I hate that the parents of the kids I  nanny for have to deal with the fact that I get sick some times and have no energy. I hate that my parents are worried about me all the time--although they would be no matter what. I hate that my best friends in the entire world have to look out for me and tell me what to do when I get so low I literally cannot think for myself. I hate that I can't binge drink whenever I want to and eat whatever I want to and not stop to check my sugar levels and give myself and injection. I hate being in pain and not being able to stand for long periods of time. I hate that I get tired after I eat some times. I hate that I can't run on 4 hours of sleep nightly like I always did. I hate asking for nutritional information at restaurants when I can't find it online. I hate explaining that I didn't do this to myself. And most of all, I hate that my husband has to go through all of this and watch me suffer, wake me up in the middle of the night when I'm sweating and near comatose, wait to eat when I do, talk about what to do when I'm so sick and I won't get better, and most of all that he is scared all the time of losing his partner to physical or mental health.

He is my rock. He is my Type Awesome. He is my Type 3 diabetic (spouse or significant other of someone with diabetes.) He is my guardian. He is my protection. He is my best friend. He is my husband.

I can't tell you how many times I tried to push him away from me. I think he deserves better than all of this. I have done things unmentionable to make him want to leave. And he doesn't. He loves me so much. And he is such a great support.

When I met the Diabetic Online Community, I finally felt like I wasn't alone. When Tim met them, I finally felt like he was with me 100% and I finally realized he wasn't going any where. I mean, to laugh about these horrible things sounds so wrong, but it is the best medicine. The DOC laughs, cries, tells the truth, asks questions, is helpful, and is just there. It's the most amazing thing I've ever felt in my life. Someone described as a club you never wanted to be a part of. But if I have to have this, I'm glad I'm in their club.

And I'm even happier my husband supports it completely.

In Love and Other Drugs, Anne Hathaway's character finally realizes how lucky she is to have a man like Jake Gyllenhal's character and how supportive he is. She also realizes how lucky she is to be supported in the community of people dying and living with the same disease she has. It definitely got me all worked up emotionally.

Between watching that crazy chick flick, reading an article about a Husband with a wife with Type 1, and reading a blog from a girl that battles with depression, I was inspired.

Thank you, DOC. You have helped me so much.

And thanks to Tim. He is amazing and I'm thankful every day that we have together. Even the days when I'm acting like a total bitch. I wish everyone could have the supportive spouse I do...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Diabetes is Flaring Up

Before I knew I had diabetes, there were a lot of signs that added up to diabetes, but I wasn't calculating them for one reason or another. If you're a non-diabetic, I meand you have 2+ of these signs, go get an at-home test from the drugstore or have your doctor check you. It could save your life.

Excessive thirst and appetite
-Meaning, you can't get through the night without something to drink. You don't stop drinking water, soda, tea, coffee, really anything that that is liquid to get over your dryness. Also, you never stop eating. I couldn't go for more than 30 minutes without something to eat.

Increased Urination
-You will probably attribute this to the increased thirst, but it would happen even if you don't drink something. With this, you run risk for dehydration, especially when sick.

Unusual Weightloss or Gain
-This one is almost funny to me because I thought I was dropping weight because of eating healthy and exercising a little bit. I thought it was so cool that I could drop 85 pounds without an eating disorder. Oops.

- I have to admit, I slept better than I had ever slept in my life. Even after I had been "treated" for my Type 2 Diabetes, which I didn't have in the first place.

Nausea, perhaps vomiting
-This one didn't happen to me much, except when I got headaches. I was treated for Migraines by a local doctor and sent home.

Blurred Vision
-My vision in my left eye sucks any way, so no change there. But my right eye would go through periods of blurriness, which saw multiple doctors for and all of them said it was normal as a part of aging. Got reading glasses and was sent home.

Yeast Infections
-Over share? Maybe. But I had never had a yeast infection in my life and I got nervous I wasn't taking care of myself. Got checked for STD's, had a pap, and was sent home with simple instructions.

Dry Mouth
-Comes with the thirst thing. This was increased when I would smoke cigarettes or marijuana. Thought it was "cottonmouth." So I just had another glass of water.

Slow Healing Sores or Cuts
-I noticed I would have a zit, cold sore, or cut for two months at a time. Bruises would take two weeks to go away and longer to not hurt any more. I thought it was my prescription meds because a doctor told me once that can happen.

Itching Skin: Especially in Vaginal or Groin Area
-I itched all the friggin time! I felt like a male soccer player who refused to wear a cup. Tim would actually make fun of me some times and hit my hand if he caught me.

Tingling In Hands, Feet, or Vagina:
-Weirdest sensation ever. Kind of like feeling "asleep," but just constant. I actually told a coworker/friend that my hands wouldn't stop tingling and he said, do you have diabetes? I feel like such an asshole for ignoring this comment. But of course, I can't change anything, so I'm sure I'll forgive myself one day. In my vagina, it actually felt like small vibrations like my cell phone was in my lap and would go off or the the bass in the car was too heavy. I tried adjusting my settings on my car and my phone. I was so naive.

I think that's it. I looked on Mayo Clinic and WebMD sites to find this information, an incorporated my own experiences.

I apologize that you have to know some of these things about me, but if it can help even one person get checked out, I don't care who knows it.

SHOULD THESE SYMPTOMS CONTINUE AFTER YOU ARE DIAGNOSED, do not hesitate to ask your doctor to run more tests. He may be treating you with the wrong medicine, or even worse, for the wrong type of diabetes. The medicine that they put me on for Type 2 diabetes really hurt my endocrine system in a way that I won't go into in online media. So if you think you have been misdiagnosed or that you have misinformation, see a new doctor immediately. I can't emphasize enough to not ignore your symptoms and your body, or you could end up a lot more damaged than you want to be or need to be.

The End.


Friday, January 6, 2012

The Things People Say

I have been inspired by a few PWD (people with diabetes) in the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) to write about my diabetes and my mental state by starting with the things people say that hurt as a diabetic. All of these things are paraphrased from what people without diabetes have said to me.

'Either you can't take care of yourself, or you won't."
-Not that simple. Sometimes, even when you do everything you're supposed to, you end up crashing and burning from all kinds of things. Just like everyone else, diabetics are not perfect. And as much research that has been done with diabetes, they still don't have all the answers. Anything can spike or drop your bloods sugar levels, including weather, stress, eating, exercising, your pancreas kicking in to work, too much insulin, and lots of other factors that are a part of every day life that you may have little to no control of.

"Should you be eating that?"
-Yes. We can eat anything you can eat within moderation, usually. And even if we aren't suppose to eat as much of it, we have weak moments too. So back off. People with diabetes have a high chance of eating disorders. If that's the case, this statement does not make anything better.

"Why hasn't your diabetes go away? I knew someone who just dieted and exercised and got rid of it."
-I have type 1. It doesn't go away. And even with type 2, you don't know if the person you know was just pre-diabetic, or maybe even just at risk for it. With some people, it will never go away.

"You're too young [or too old] for diabetes."
-Anyone can get it at any time.

"You're not fat at all. How could you have it?"
-Again, anyone can get it. Weight is only an added risk factor for Type 2. And even then, it doesn't determine if you get it.

"You eat like crap, no wonder you have diabetes."
-This was not my fault, nor was it anyone else's. Type 1 has nothing to do with what you eat or when you eat it. Again, I added to my risk factors, but it doesn't mean I gave myself diabetes.

"I could never do what you."
-Yes you could. I hated needles, unless it was in a tattoo or piercing form. I thought I'd never be able to do it. I never once cared about my weight or what I ate. I drank six sodas a day. Ice cream is my favorite food. I was smoking a pack and half a day until about two months ago, when I started weening myself. (Day 14 without cigarettes-hey hey hey.) When you're told, hey if you don't this, you will die, and make your remaining time pretty miserable, you can pretty much do anything. Granted, there are days I don't want to stab myself 10 times a day. But I remind myself: Today is only temporary.

In 2012, I have pledged to forgive people, and myself, for not understanding or being perfect. I have a big goal. But I can do this.

On a positive note, these are the best things people have said to me. Mostly in the past few weeks, but they have been life savers.

"If diabetes fits into your definition of normal, you are normal!"
-Scott about me wondering if I'm a freak. This guy has a great sense of humor.

"I am so proud of you!"
-My doctor on talking about carb counting and a possible insulin pump coming my way.

"You're doing great."
-My oldest sister when I was worried about giving myself shots.

"You look great for being so sick."
-My mom after I had been in and out of the hospital all week before seeing her.

"I'm here for you wife."
-my Husband who has been "Type Awesome" as Babs says.

"You can contact me on Twitter, Facebook, email, call or text any time.:"
-Jess, a new diabetic friend and possibly a guardian angel. She has pulled members of the DOC to me and me to them, and has forever changed my life.

"You can do this."
Lots and lots and lots of members of the DOC. Thank you, guys.

So, if you're reading and you are a non-diabetic, remember what you say is important.  (Well, it is even when you are a diabetic!) No one expects you to know everything or understand everything, but remember to listen when they explain to you how things really are. The next diabetic you run into will appreciate it.

If you have something positive and uplifting to say, never cease to say it!!!! To anyone, any where, any time. I found that if you keep the positives up, they will come back to you.


Baby Steps Into My First Ever Blog

Being a 27 year old woman who loves technology and writing, you would think I would already started a blog. A few years back, I was working on a book deal to get published and dropped the ball on it because I believed no one would ever want to read what I might write. Long before that, I believed that writing was personal and, if people saw what I would write, it would open me up to vulnerability. Today, I throw my past biases away to write this blog.

Mostly, this will be about my daily living with diabetes. I have made some awesome connections in the Diabetic Online Community (DOC) and they have inspired me to help inspire others. Also, I will include stuff about mental illness. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in 2009, which goes hand in hand with anxiety and depression. Fun stuff, huh? Also have remnants of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from a lot of crazy things that happened during my younger years.

So I have all of this stuff going on, and I'm not writing about it. But what I've realized in the past couple of weeks is maybe I'm not the only one. While my specific experiences are all about me, there has got to be another person out there with PTSD, BPD and Diabetes. Or a combination of any of those three. And  maybe, just maybe, I can help them a little. Or make them laugh once. (I have a sick and dark sense of humor I have been told, so if something is outta line, you can either let me know or stop reading my blog.) With the DOC, I've realized I'm not alone, so if I can make one other person realize they are not alone, I can die a happy blogger.

Good luck reading! I hope you enjoy my craziness and my emotions. I certainly have a lot of them.