Monday, March 25, 2013

You are my hero, You don't need a costume, Everybody knows your name

The past two years have been full of surprises for me. Obviously, one of the biggest ones was learning I have diabetes.

After a year and two months of struggling, I learned an even bigger problem. I have Type 1.5 diabetes, not Type 2 as I originally learned.

This meant a world of news for me. I was going to have to start taking insulin. Lactic Acidosis was a problem I was facing. I was going to have to make decisions on insulin to use, if I wanted to do injections, use a pen needle or get a pump. I would need a Continuous Glucose Monitor because it was constantly ups and downs with my blood sugar. I was going to have make food choices for the rest of my life and hope for the best while trying to control diabetes at it's worst. I could face a world of complications, and I had no choice. Health insurance was no longer an option.

Since I was diagnosed correctly, I have gone through a divorce and lost my insurance as I work jobs that don't normally carry it. It's been a scary ride. I finally found a job that I loved and would cover most of the costs of at least my supplies and insulin and lab tests I do on a weekly basis. But, I lost my job this weekend because of an unfortunate turn of events. So, there goes all hopes of being able to cover myself.

One of the first decisions I made, as a newly diagnosed Type 1, was to use Medtronic as my pump and CGM companies. I had to wait until my insurance was good enough to cover most of it. And it was so worth the wait.

Right away, I was greeted by a Representative named Rebecca. Rebecca held my hand (figuratively) by teaching me how to use my CGM and my Pump. She told me I could do this and showed me she did it some times too, even though she didn't have diabetes.

My first pump insertion was guided by Cara at the Medtronic Product Assistance Line. She was so sweet and took me step by step because I couldn't remember any of it. My first site change with my CGM was guided by Matt, also at the Medtronic Product Assistance Line. He was so patient with me as I had to convince myself into pushing the little white button to insert it. Matt reminded me to keep breathing and stay calm. He was right. When I kept getting kinks, Ingrid walked me through the different products they had and believed it was because I was so skinny that my body was rejecting the needle. She was right, and sent me a whole new pack of products. When I got a bad batch of sensors, Lisa over-nighted me a new box and sent me shipping products to send it back. At lunch one day, I noticed my pump cracked and Michelle talked me through the process, over-nighted me a new one to my work, and sent me shipping to mail the old one back so they could dispose of it properly. Then, when I was at my saddest, I tweeted about losing my jobs and my insurance. Within moments, I received a phone call from Ashley, offering her deepest regards, and is sending me supplies free of charge, to hold me over until I can get a job or insurance for the next round.

WOW. I am at a loss for words. This company has never let me down. They continually impress me with their customer service and excellent people skills. Their generosity and helpfulness has reminded me that businesses aren't all business.

Medtronic isn't just about profit. They are about keeping people alive. They are about reminding us all that we all have hard times and they are there for their customers. They quite literally just saved my life.

I am so happy I went with their company. It is hands down one of the best decisions I've made as a diabetic. If I have to have this disease, its amazing I have Medtronic by my side (literally on my hip and figuratively on my Twitter) helping me out through all of this.

*Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this article. I was not bribed, or even suggested to make a blog about my experience. I was merely blown away by the fact that one company was so amazing to care what I am going through.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Just Understand, I Got it Well In Hand

I think being a diabetic is hard work. (Obvious statement, right?) But, I feel like people don't know how much that statement means.

Since being diagnosed in October 2010, I have talked to so many non-diabetics and received a lot of feedback about their views on diabetes. It's easy for them to offer up suggestions or statements to relate. And I appreciate that they want to be in the conversation. My favorite statement is "I hate when people don't take care of their of diabetes, but it's good that you do!" I have such mixed feelings about this statement.

Here's the deal. It's day to day. Some days, it's easier to take care of than others. Some days, I care more than others. Most days, I do exactly what I'm supposed to do-whatever that means.

But some days, I don't check my blood sugar more than twice. Some days, I run out of insulin in my pump because I wasn't prepared, got busy and didn't think to do back up. Some times, I sleep through my pump vibrating because I'm took tired to get up and test. Some days, I forget extra test strips. Some days, I forget my meter. I have yet to leave my pump disconnected when I leave the house, but I don't doubt that some day it will happen. I'm pretty bad about exercising more than my job that keeps me on my feet or playing soccer once a week. I go on spurts of when I wear my CGM. I have no health insurance because it was too costly. I over treat some times because when I feel low, I feel like the world is ending. I go too fast at work some times and don't pay attention to lows because I think my job is more important at that moment. I drink alcohol and some times, I drink more than two in one day. I smoked cigarettes forever because I thought it wasn't that big of a deal. I don't always eat every two hours. Some times, I only eat once a day. I choose french fries some times over veggies. I take the extra bolus when I want dessert. My A1C isn't below 7.0. I wear flip flops, and heels, and walk around barefoot. I get pedicures. I've been bad about Twitter lately, which disconnects me from my DOC to an extent. I haven't participated in DSMA in months because of other life happenings (work, soccer, etc.)

I'm not always the best I can be. But it's hard. Really hard. And I don't want my diabetes to define me. I want to try and control it as much as I can, and give myself some slack when I don't. And I want everyone around me to give me some slack too. I don't need a policeman to tell me how to take care of myself. I don't want you to ask me how my blood sugar is when I check in front of you. I appreciate when people notice I'm shaking or being aggressive to say, have you checked lately? But then, I appreciate they back off and let me check and treat as necessary.

If you tell you know someone that has diabetes, my first thought is, "How can I help?" I connect people with the DOC every day. I just talked to a girl I work with about meeting for lunch with her sister who is struggling to take care of herself right now. I'm not going to try and fix her. But I will listen. I will offer my heart and my ears and anything that I can.

I imagine that it's what everyone wants in any situation. Because, it's all I want.