Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Needles"


I just finished the book "Needles: A Memoir of Growing Up With Diabetes," by Andie Dominick. It talks about the trials and challenges of diabetes, and the truly powerful affect it can have on a diabetic's life.  The author proves what a daily task it really is.  
The book starts out explaining how much Andie adores her sister who has Type 1 Diabetes.  She would play with the needles (orange caps still on them), and pretend to give shots to her stuffed animals.  Little did she know, she would soon be giving herself insulin shots.  
Eventually, after years with diabetes, Andie has complications. It gave me a different perspective on the disease. It makes me want to work a little harder to avoid medical problems. She ends up having diabetic retinopathy.  She has to have laser surgeries to prevent more vessels in her eye from bursting.  Scary stuff--but it's reality. Then she goes through periods of denial and stops giving herself insulin. She ends up in the hospital. All of the feelings she encounters felt so real to me.  It was comforting to read the words of another diabetic and be able to sigh and think, "I know exactly what you mean."
Some of my favorite and inspiring quotes from the book:
"We never think we can endure as much as we can."
"I'm trying to put my life in perspective now. I'm trying to learn to be thankful for my health, rather than resenting a body that has betrayed me."
"A cure for diabetes. I don't even think about that. I just hope for advances in how to treat the complications of the disease. Ways to prevent blindness and restore circulation. A kidney transplant without a life of immunosuppressants.  I don't think this is hoping for too much, but a cure is too much to ask for."
Excellent book...I highly recommend it! Check it out if you haven't already.  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Roller Coaster Blood Sugars


Low #1...I can deal with it.
Low #2...getting a little agitated.
Low #3...feel like I wanna give up.  
High #1...UGH!
Not to mention, these lows happen within a 10 hour time frame.  I just want to shove every piece of food down my mouth to get rid of these sweaty, shaky, heart-racing lows.  My brain tells me "FOOD...NOW!!" Hours later, sky-rocketing numbers appear on my meter. 
First low, I just felt weird while laying in bed.  I knew that if I didn't get up and test myself, I wouldn't be able to get to sleep.  I get up, test myself, and an ugly 58 is staring back at me from the test meter. 
The frustrating thing is that I don't know what's causing these lows.  Am I giving myself too much insulin?  Or are my basal rates off?  This is too much math for an English major!
What am I so scared of?  I am petrified that I will have a low while sleeping and not wake up.  The sensor gives me a peace of mind.  Sometimes it completely pisses me off.  Being woken up during the middle of the night by a sound that reminds me of a fire siren is no fun.  But, it does ease my mind that it's there. 
I know that lows and highs are bad.  But, I would take a high over a low any day.  Any other thoughts on this topic?

Monday, December 6, 2010

To Tell or Not to Tell...That's the Question


"What's that?" [pointing to my insulin pump]. It's a question I get asked on a daily basis--especially by children, since I am a teacher. I never know how exactly to answer this question.  I've always been a private person when it comes to my diabetes. Lately, I've been opening up more and more, and trying not to be shy or embarrassed by it.  
My fear?  Being judged.  I can do a lot while managing my diabetes.  I have to admit that I am one tough cookie [pun intended :)]
Earlier this year, I worked full-time, went for my masters degree, planned a wedding, and managed my diabetes--all at once! I'm not asking for a pat on the back, but I want people to know that I [and other diabetics] can handle a lot more than it looks like!
We all answer the question "What's that?" differently when referring to the pump and diabetes.  Sometimes based on who is asking, but also sometimes on our comfort level.  We're like this for a reason.  So, don't judge a book by its cover, as they say.  Any thoughts from my fellow diabetic friends?