Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tales of the Type 3

I'm sure Matt could relate all kinds of stories to you.  We have been dating since high school, so he has never known me as a person without diabetes.  I've said it before, but I will say it again:  Matt is a terrific partner.  He brings me juice or glucose tabs when I'm low, water when I'm high and thirsty.  I can count on him to help me when I request it, but he does not nag me when I'm not requesting it.  He knows the most important things to have on any trip we take are my pump supplies.  Anything else could be purchased in another place.  (I'm talking domestic travel here...neither of us has gotten a passport yet, though I would like to go to Europe someday maybe.)

But what I've never really asked him is how he feels to be my Type 3.  He's the one who finds test strips in the shower drain.  He keeps the garlic and sticks of butter crammed into the butter compartment along with my insulin.  He's the one who puts up with all of my silly commentary about his blood sugar when he drinks a gallon of water then has to pee a lot all day, or my remarks about how I should just test his sugar for fun when his finger is bleeding after a particularly hard night of guitar playing. 

Honestly, he always answers that last one with, "If you want to."

One time, during some time we spent apart for work purposes, Matt told me he had found a test strip in his shoe.  He was entirely uncertain as to how it got there, but he said it made him miss me.  I guess that's kind of a bizarre but sweet thing about accidentally dropping medical wastes everywhere you go. 

Basically, this is how you know you are important to me:  by finding test strips on your floors, by finding bits of insulin pump supply garbage in your trash can, by asking me if I could maybe leave some emergency supplies at your place just in case I'd need them when I come over.  This is how I know you truly care about me.  That night you brought me a juice on the front porch at the bar because I could feel myself dropping fast, and you could tell something was wrong?  That was perfect.  You remembered to have some kind of diet drink or unsweetened tea at your party?  You didn't ask if I should be eating/drinking that if I was pouring the Coke Classic while holding a cupcake?  That was fantastic.  To every Type 3 in my life, whether you know that you are or not, I am thankful for the love I get from you despite, and even because of, having diabetes.

This post is my May entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2011/may-dsma-blog-carnival/

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eye of the Beholder

The average person sees:

A cute checkboard clutch bag.

I see:

A cute new home for my glucose meter.  And yeah, that's a real number.  Don't judge me.

The average person sees:

A tasty pack of fruity sugar-free chewing gum.

I see:

A home for used test strips and lancets so I don't dirty up my cute new black and white checkerboard meter case with a bunch of old blood and stuff. 

I'm creative, and I have Type 1 diabetes.  Do you think it shows much?  :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Diabetes Blog Week '11, Day Two: Letter-Writing Day

Last month was National Poetry Month, and my friend Jane wrote a poem called "41 Love Letters" after a poem by Jeanann Verlee, called "40 Love Letters". I enjoyed both poems, sort of a collection of tiny letters to so many people. I enjoyed them so much in fact, I now present for D-Blog Week, after Jane, after Jeanann,

22 Diabetes Letters

Dear Younger Me,
When you grow up to be 29, you'll still never know if she noticed that you were sneaking cookies from the drawer. Also, you will still occasionally eat a spoonful of dry sugar-free Nestle Quik before making a glass of chocolate milk.

Dear Insulin Pump,
I hope you do not mind that occasionally I carry you down the hallway with my teeth, my arms full of clean laundry when I don't know what to wear.

Dear Favorite CDE,
I don't see you enough. I need to change this. For someone who knows a lot about living with diabetes, I can be a real slacker about doing anything about it.

Dear New Endocrinologist,
I have finally started testing more often. Soon I will do those basal tests and get my labs done. Everyone is counting on them. I'm a little scared of them, but I need to count on myself too.

Dear Lady from the Insulin Pump Support Group,
You were embarrassed to admit that you took about half of my total daily dose, because you thought it was "a lot". I did not speak up that I take even more than you, because I was too mad. You have to take the dose that's best for you. Don't make yourself (AND ME!!) feel shitty about trying to stay healthy.

Dear Insulin Pump,
Sorry about that time I dropped you and you rebooted like I'd just put in a new battery. That was a bit scary for both of us, I'm sure.

Dear Smell of Band-Aids,
You have cursed me.  Am I near a first aid kit, or is my infusion site leaking?

Dear Younger Me,
The stuff you thought was total bullshit on that diabetes forum about dating? How no one is ever going to love you completely because you are diseased and stuff? Yeah, you're still right. TOTAL BULLSHIT.

Dear Syringe in the Bottom of My Purse,
I keep waiting for you to fall out at an inopportune time.

Dear Counterperson at Wendys who Will Inevitably See This Syringe,
I have diabetes. I am not shooting up illegal drugs. I really did just pee in your bathroom, that's it.

Dear Kim from Elementary School,
I can't remember your last name. You got type 1 about a year after me. I hope you're doing what you love and thriving.

Dear NPH,
I will never miss you as an insulin. I hope you're not too sad about this.

Dear Late High School Me,
Your ankles are still going to swell when you're 29. Only now you won't be sure what to blame it on, because it's obviously not the strain from daily marching band practices. Sorry. On a happier note, contrary to what Mom scares you about, it's NOT because of your kidneys. Also, don't leave your test kit on top of your clarinet case when you go out to practice. Some punkass is gonna see it, assume it's a wallet and steal it. Don't worry, though, a janitor will find it on top of a trash can the next day.

Dear Diet Drinks,
If loving you is wrong, I don't wanna be right. Especially you, Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet Gold Peak Tea, and Fresca.

Dear Neighbor,
I was probably 9 or 10, and you said something about you also had "the sugar".  My tiny brain was filled with rage.  To this day, I still wish you would have said "diabetes".  Or even "diabeetus".

Dear Mom,
You still say "diabeetus" sometimes, and I forgive you.  I love you, and you can have special privileges.  This does not mean, however, that I will not make a funny face, or correct you when you say "nook-you-lur" instead of "noo-klee-ur". 

Dear Doctor From My Diagnosis in 1990,
Remember when I was hyperventilating and couldn't move my hands or most of my muscles?  Remember how you treated my mom like an idiot?  Remember when my mom took you by the coat collar and ripped you a new one in front of everyone in the pediatric ward?  I sure hope you do.  Asshole.  I hope you remember it every day of your medical career.

Dear Insulin Pump,
Maybe we'd get along better sometimes if I'd just pretend "beep beep beep!" means you're telling me you love me.

Dear Cleo 90 Infusion Sets,
I wish we didn't have such a rocky past.  Why won't you just stick around?  (Get it?  Stick?  Because sometimes you don't despite all the prep wipes and stuff?)

Dear Carbs,
You are so damn yummy.  Especially you, cake.

Dear Younger Me,
Just keep going.  Keep doing what you're doing.  Keep pursuing happiness.  All those diary entries about how much diabetes sucks?  Yeah, you're still going to be writing them in 2011.  In a public forum, no less.  Believe it or not, it's going to be really therapeutic for you, and you're going to make so many awesome new friends who know what it's like to have diabetes, you're not even going to believe.  Keep on kicking ass, kiddo.

Dear Future Me,
What's it like out there? Is there a closed-loop system yet?  Do I have to keep poking my fingers?  Do I have complications?   Did I ever decide to have kids?  Does my husband ever stop attempting to grow a beard?  Do we have a cat?  Did I ever come up with a good premise for a novel?  If I still have an insulin pump, does it look like a second generation iPhone?  (You know insulin pumps have to be about 10 years behind the fashion curve at all times...)  Have we been cured and now all you do is eat spoonfuls of pink frosting while you continue to drink diet soda?

Monday, May 9, 2011

D-Blog Week Day 1: Admiring Our Differences


Happy D-Blog Week, everyone! What better way to stage a mini-comeback than with an entire week of targeted blog topics? Special thanks to Karen at Bittersweet Diabetes for putting this together again in 2011!

Today, we d-bloggers are asked to talk about someone with diabetes who is different from us, someone we've learned something from.  Some of us are talking about other bloggers, or the parents of kids with diabetes, but I am going to talk about someone I know in real life.  I'm going to tell you a bit about my colleague with type 2 at work.  I'm just going to call him Bob for anonymity's sake.

While I don't always think Bob is doing absolutely everything in his power to take care of his diabetes, I have to step back once in a while.  I'm not doing all I could possibly do for myself right now either, so I should not hold something like this against him.  Bob is a really cool, loudmouthed and funny guy.  He has downloaded an entire series of songs to his computer that he will play at random times, sort of a mood ring for the day.  There's the "Jeopardy!" Theme Song for waiting around, "One Love" for the really bad days, and most recently, "See You in September" for students who are not making the cut for earlier classes in the summer.

Bob was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in his twenties, but it seems he hasn't let diabetes stop him from doing anything.  He's been a broadcaster for ESPN.  He's worked in sales for a number of companies.  He was even the voice of Barney the Dinosaur in a touring production.  He's been married twice, and he's still with his second wife and they have a daughter together.  He's an umpire with the local Little League.

I don't know all the details but I know Type 2 has thrown Bob a few curves in his life.  He's got nerve damage in his legs, not a lot of feeling left there.  He comes in with a cane sometimes.  At his worst, he's told me, he was in a wheelchair. 

I admire Bob because despite any complications he's had from diabetes, despite how crazy work is right now, and despite the overall busy schedule of his life, he's back in the game.  He started seeing a new endocrinologist, the same one I just started seeing.  She's put him on an entirely new insulin regimen and taken him off of pills.  He's feeling great, and now he's on a mission to lose weight.  In the past couple weeks, he's dropped 17 pounds by cutting out some carbs (mostly bread and french fries/chips) and adding more veggies to his daily intake.  Of course, he's a guy so the pounds melt right off of him--I usually have to work pretty hard to drop some weight.  I'm proud of Bob.  He's still fighting the good fight.

This is something I find very realistically inspiring at this time in my life.  Maybe my health isn't going to be perfect.  Maybe diabetes is going to give me complications, maybe not.  I just have to keep living the best life I can, keep doing what I love.  It's never too late to take better care of yourself or try something new in terms of managing diabetes.  Most of all, though, you have to find your happiness because that's what makes life the most worth living.  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Springtime Sick Days

Isn't this the worst?  It's beautiful and sunny outside.  The wind is blowing gently.  The birdies are chirping.  People are smiling at one another as they pass on the sidewalk. 

I'm stuck at work.  I'm indoors, and I'm sick.  This particular virus started off with a nasty sore throat.  Now I just feel like a truck ran me over.  (If anyone has the license plate number of said truck, I'd really appreciate if you share that information with me.)

My absolute least favorite part of this bout with whatever this illness is?  It's making me feel like I am on the verge of a low blood sugar most of the time.  I'm a wee bit shaky, a little headachey, and definitely exhausted.  My BG in the middle of the night?  410.  My BG about 2 hours later when I woke up to go to the bathroom?  141.  My BG when I finally got out of bed to go to work?  74.  Finally one that matched up, but it's 328 now and I feel almost exactly the same way as I have all morning. 

This is one particular bug that should just bug off.  How are you feeling today, DOC?