Tag: diabetes


the look of love


Do you ever wonder what God’s love looks like? Well, I’m going to show you just one of many shapes His love can take. Observe:

God’s love

Yes.  That stack of medical supplies is just one example of the way God’s love looks to me.

Let me explain.

If you read here at all, you probably picked up on the fact that I often worry about money.  I honestly don’t worry about much else.  Maybe if one of my kids is sick or hurting emotionally, I’ll be concerned and prayerful about that, but things like medical crises and being sick or injured myself doesn’t worry me.  I think that God has shown His hand SO many times in that way that I no longer spend very much time worrying about my health or things like that.  But money (or rather, the lack of it!) has always had the power to bring me to my knees.

Worrying about how we’ll pay the bills or afford to fix something can mess me up big time.  I will fret so much about it that I almost just freeze.  Nothing more so than when it comes to the dire necessities.

God has grown my faith and matured me a lot in the past several years when it comes to trusting Him.  I don’t say that to brag, but to point out His grace in being patient with me and giving me second, tenth, eighty-fourth chances.  It has always bothered me that I worried so much about money.  I’m always trying to figure out how to make more of it, how to generate more income or in times of serious need, I start thinking of things to sell and we just don’t even have a lot of that when it comes to making a quick hundred or so.  Yes, for us, an extra $20 can sometimes be very hard to come up with, just so you understand my frame of reference.

After some wonderful sermons that have been speaking to me about growing my faith, I determined that I would stop fretting about money and paying bills.  I would begin to wait, lean on and trust in God to meet these needs.  And before I knew it, a perfect opportunity presented itself.

I was almost completely out of supplies for my insulin pump.  I had called the supply company already over a week ago trying to sort through a balance they said I still owed.  I explained to them that I have a second insurance policy that should have paid the balance.  They said I had one amount from the first of the year already in collections and another balance.  After being given the run-around and being told various things by various people, I finally had a sales rep tell me they don’t “participate” with my secondary insurance company.

Nice.  After having TWO different people who were supposedly from the company’s insurance department assure me “we will get that filed with your other policy right away”, now a sales rep tells me they don’t even take the other insurance??  ARGH!

I have no patience when it comes to this kind of stuff.  It sets me on edge and makes me a nervous wreck.  There’s just something about being told you have an outstanding balance of almost $1500 that makes me queasy.  When it’s all we can do to get the utilities and mortgage paid and have a little left over for groceries while juggling a stack of hospital, doctor and lab bills from month to month?  It just overwhelms me and sets me on a track for a real fear-fest.  Echos of “how are we going to afford…” and “where will we get that much…” begin to cripple me.

So here I sat, down to ONE line set and three reservoirs having visions of having to go back to multiple daily injections and thinking about how awful my levels would become without a base rate of insulin from the pump…  I just stopped and thought, “Okay, God.  You’re going to have to take care of this.  I can’t see ANY way to come up with this money, so I’m going to just trust You.”  It’s much easier to “trust” God when you have at least an idea of how it might be possible to make something happen.  That’s why He does things like lead several million people to the edge of a sea with a murderous army pursuing them…so He can show Himself and it be known that without a doubt, there was NO WAY they could have escaped without God’s provision.  (Read the story of Moses)

He erases any chance that a thing could have “just happened” or that man could have had anything whatsoever to do with it.

That’s where He had us.  We were already behind on one of our big payments and thinking we would barely scrape by if we paid the big ones this week, then the lesser bills next week.  Now this?

I was thinking about how I could maybe use another reservoir but reuse the same line set when this reservoir was empty.  That’s risky and can cause an infection at worst or irritation at best.  I was trying to think of EVERY POSSIBLE SOLUTION all the while saying, “I’m going to trust God with this.”  Even though, in reality, I wasn’t really trusting Him completely.  I have to say, though, I was doing better than I would have in the past.  At least I hadn’t allowed myself to fall into a deep depression and cease to function.  I hadn’t curled up anywhere to cry.  I was actually doing better than usual, but still… I hadn’t let go of trying to solve the problem myself while I was “trusting God”.

Shame on me.

The very next day after getting the news that we would have to pay $600 of the full balance before they would let me order again, I got a text from a lady who has been doing my physical therapy.  She works on Tommy’s back too, so we have both gotten to know her.  She’s really sweet, but struggles with self-worth and depression too.  We’d been trying to get her to come to church with us, but it hadn’t worked out so that she could.  I ended up sending her this sermon after telling her it would do her a lot of good. I told her to MAKE the time to watch it when she could concentrate and pay attention.  So she had called me when she got to listen to it while driving a couple hours to another town for a job.  She was almost in tears and said I was right, the message was exactly what she needed to hear.

So then, the day after getting the news about having to pay the huge amount before I could order supplies, she texted to see if I was coming in for an appointment that week.  I told her no, I wouldn’t be there til the next week.  I forgot to mention, she is now moving to Georgia (moving this weekend, actually!!) so she said she would be gone by then but she had something to give me and could I stop by the office.  I said I could come by after lunch.

When I got there, she hugged me as usual and I chit-chatted with the receptionist while my friend went to get this mysterious “thing” she had to give me.  When she came back, she handed me a plain old envelope and told me not to open it until I was gone.  We hugged again and said our goodbyes.  She promised to keep me updated on how things were going, I told her once again she was going to do great and everything would be fine and then I left.

When I got to my car, I couldn’t stand the suspense, so I opened the envelope, which was sort of “puffy” and inside I found 10 bills totaling $70 and a note explaining.

I was floored when I saw that it was cash.  I mean, what on earth?  I wondered why in the world is she giving me money since I knew she was a bit worried about having enough to make the move and get settled before starting her new, better-paying job in Georgia.

The note explained that she felt led to “tithe” wherever she was spiritually fed.  I’m still not sure what I think about that, but anyway, she said I had helped her so much and the content of the message I’d sent her had been exactly what she needed and she knew that was only through God.

I sat there, stunned, thinking this is God showing me He’s handling things.  I mean, it’s not every day people just give me such a sum of cash, ya know?  So I KNEW it was God but still, in the back of my mind I was thinking, “This is great, God, but it’s not nearly enough… but I am going to trust You still…”

When I told Tommy about it that night, he was flabbergasted too.  He said it was just God giving us reassurance that He was taking care of it.  He said that someone had offered to buy one of his hobby tools and that might get us another $400 so we were encouraged and went on about our lives hanging onto the peace that God would take care of it.

Yesterday when Tommy came home from work, I knew something was up.  He came in telling me he HAD to tell me something.  It’s always serious when he comes directly to me instead of checking on something he’s been working on in the shop.

He began telling me about going into a place where he had to buy some things for work and also some that were needed for his dad’s old pickup they’re rebuilding.  I thought to myself, “Great.  This is going to take forever and there’s a possibility it doesn’t even concern me at all, he’s just excited about something!”  I will admit, I’m not very patient when it comes to listening to Tommy tell me some long, overly-detailed story about what they’re doing to that truck.  Ha.  I don’t know half of what he’s talking about and I’m not super-interested in how it’s coming along until he can tell me it’s done!  He gets so excited about stuff sometimes he HAS to tell SOMEone ALL about it, and I am usually that someone.  It doesn’t matter to him whether I understand him, whether I care or even if I listen for the most part… he just wants to tell it and ‘get it out’ of his system somehow.  It drives me crazy because I seldom EVER do that to him.  He would croak if I told him every time I got excited about finding a new way to get stains out of his clothes or if I went into great detail about how difficult it was to do my own nails or something that he has absolutely no interest in.  He doesn’t seem to mind that I don’t care how many times they tried the whatsit in the thingamajig to get the whatchamacallit up to 2000 RPM’s or whatever.  sigh

ANYway… this wasn’t that kind of tale, thankfully.  He started telling me about talking to a lady who worked there who also has type 1 diabetes and was having a bad day with high blood sugars and when her sugar finally came down, she was feeling really awful.  He then said they got to talking about supplies and insurance and it came up that we were having trouble getting my supplies.  She looked at him and said, “Oh, well the way my insurance is now, I actually have some extras.  I can give her at least a box of each.”

Tommy said he almost started bawling the same way I was in tears at that very moment.  I was just FLOORED.  So THIS is what God was planning??  And all that time I was trying to figure out where we’d find the money to just pay what absolutely had to be paid soon enough for me to not run out and all along He had it more than well in hand.

We made plans to meet her at a local store at noon today and when we got there, she handed a bag through the car window with not one, but THREE boxes each of line sets and reservoirs!  I was just stunned!  God had provided above and beyond what we even asked for!We thanked her profusely and then started talking.

Tommy knew she hadn’t been in church in awhile, so we invited her to go with us.  She seems to want to but is hesitant.  Most people are, I guess.  Even when they know they need to get back in church and back on track with the Lord, we always seem to draw back as if we don’t know how much better life will be.

We told her we’d call her in the morning, so I’m praying something changes her hesitancy into eagerness or at least willingness to go with us.  She’s a single mom with a young daughter so I’m really hoping she will come.  Perhaps, just maybe this is the reason God lined all these things up?!

I don’t know, but once again, He has provided.  I’m so thankful for His patience and His grace.  Now we have time to gather the money needed to at least let me order supplies again.  What the lady gave me is almost three months’ worth of supplies.  CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?  We offered to give her some money (remember the $70 my friend gave me?) but she refused to take it.  I was really hating to have to part with that cash if I’m being honest, but I would have given it to her if she’d taken it.  I feel so ashamed that I wasn’t more willing to give it away since it was given to me.  See?  I am still struggling with feeling a sense of want.

All the more reason I am SOOOO thankful God is patient with me.

Has anything like this ever happened to you?  Do you worry about money too?  If so, how do you deal with it?


the worst one yet: a hypo story


So yeah, in this post I mentioned that the reason it was delayed is because I ended up in the hospital that evening.  I promised to tell you about that, so here goes…

I’ve been really REALLY sick since the end of August.  If you’ve visited at all in that time frame, you probably know this already.  I was just miserably sick with some sort of bronchial-slash-allergy illness from Hades!  I was on and off antibiotics and steroids and all sorts of allergy medication, nebulizer meds, inhalers and nasal sprays.  I was using an oil diffuser, vitamins and herbals, teas, Vicks on my feet… you name it and I tried it.  For the longest time, I just could not seem to get better at all, or I’d get better for a couple of days and then go back or get worse.  Finally, FINALLY, I started to feel like I was over the hump and improving a little.  I had started immunotherapy and either that was helping or The Sick just got tired of me at last and went to torment someone else.  I honestly don’t know.  I just knew I was thankful to feel almost human again!

That was a couple of days before Thanksgiving.  I felt good enough to help plan the meal.  I even baked a turkey sans stuffing specially for Corey because poor Mom couldn’t seem to understand that even if she only put stuffing inside the turkey, it could still cause his celiac to flare and had loaded hers full of regular, gluten-laden stuffing.  I also made him some gluten free dumplings, gravy and dessert before going up to Mom’s to make my usual batch of dumplings for the rest of us.  It was a great day, the best Thanksgiving we’ve had in a while.  My cousin Gabe was able to be with us and about six other random friends of ours or our kids were there with us unexpectedly.  I was thankful that my parents didn’t flip out having so many people over, but they seemed to enjoy it once the initial shock wore off.   We were there until almost 11 pm playing games and having a really good time.

That was on Friday.  Yes, I know Thanksgiving is on Thursday but for whatever reason, Mom had decided we would do our Thanksgiving dinner on Friday, and so we did.  So I got through the weekend fine and continued to feel better.  So much better I was beginning to tackle the house, which has been in a horrific state of neglect for MONTHS now.

Then on Monday, I once again was feeling really good.  It’s not often I have days like that, and especially after being sick for so long, so I was relishing the fact that I didn’t need a nap before noon and that I was actually able to finish several tasks without getting wiped out or discouraged.  It was starting to seem possible to get the house in shape enough to get ready for Christmas!

I had gone to get my allergy shots around 9:30 so being dressed and out and actually getting an errand completed by that time of day was a major accomplishment!  I switched out some laundry, folded and put a load of it away, unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, washed the big dishes and put them away and scrubbed the sinks.  I felt like I had conquered the world!  The only downer at that point was that my sugar had been hovering around 200 for much of the day.  I ate leftover dumplings with Tommy for lunch around 11:30 and had struggled to get the number down ever since.  By 2:00 it was still up and of course, my CGM was “screaming” at me every five minutes.  It just kept alerting me that my sugar was high.

Really?!?!  Yeah, I know already!  I really love my CGM and it’s a great tool to have, but I wish there was a way to make it not continue to make that noise after you already know it’s doing whatever Dex is alerting you about while you’re trying to correct the problem!  Gah!  I had started a post earlier and now it was finally finished.  I just needed some photos to compliment the theme, so I was busy searching, uploading, transferring and editing so I could publish when I suddenly got extremely tired.

It wasn’t a “low” tired, but then again they never seem like “low” tireds.  sigh  I just figured that all my energy had been spent and it was time for me to recharge.  By this time it was about 3:30 – 3:45.  While I’ve been sick, I got in the habit of just laying down whenever I felt tired and napping instead of fighting it.  I figured if I slept for 45 minutes to an hour, I’d feel lots better and could get some more done around the house.

That’s the last thing I remember before the ambulance.

I can remember hearing unfamiliar voices.  I can remember the sort-of fading-in of voices asking me questions … it was like tuning in a radio station.  I couldn’t understand the words for a time until I got them “tuned in”.  Then I would hear someone talking about me.  Saying what my blood pressure was, talking about turning “her” or that “she’s starting to come around”.  I think that last sentence is what caused me to realize what was going on and open my eyes.

Somehow, I knew I was lying on the floor of my bedroom with my head at the foot of the bed next to the closet doors.  I remember wondering how so many people were able to fit in such a small space then I began to wonder what in the world had happened.

About that time, I heard Corey’s voice and spoke his name.  I’ve gotten in the habit, ever since I started having those sudden severe lows, of stating what I can see or hear in an effort to let people know that my brain is operating, at least a little.  Then I saw Taylor’s face and spoke her name.  Both of them said things like “it’s going to be okay”, “you’re okay” and “it’s alright now”.  I started trying to ask what happened but must not have been doing a good job when a man to my right leaned over and told me his name was Daniel.  That’s when I knew I was in real trouble, or at least I had been.  I could see his EMT uniform and the creepy blue gloves on his hands.  Beyond that, I couldn’t tell anything else was going on with my body other than I was freezing.  I began saying, “Cold.  Cold.  COLD.”  That’s when they counted and I could feel them lift me with a blanket and plop me onto a gurney.

I could see I was being wheeled through my kitchen and out the door onto the porch.  It hit me then.  The realization that I’d been the cause of yet another medical bill.  I began saying, “I’m sorry.”  And I was, both for racking up another bill to pay and for worrying my kids like this.  Corey told me there was no reason to be sorry.  I continued telling them I was cold because folks, a post-hypo freeze is nothing to be toyed with.  One nurse later told me a severe hypoglycemic episode can put you near hypothermia!  I believe it!

They loaded me into the ambulance and both Daniel and Corey climbed in on either side of me.  I began asking Corey what had happened.  He started off by saying I had probably busted my nose, but it was okay.  That was puzzling because my nose didn’t hurt.  I touched it and it felt fine.  I didn’t know what he was talking about.  Then I felt the stiff remains of dried blood on my face, then the stickiness of something else… Corey gently wiped at my face with a tissue.  “It’s okay.  You’ve got some blood on your face.  We’ll get it off in a minute.”  I said, “Sticky.”  He said, chuckling, “Yeah, I got a little syrup on your face.  We’ll wash it off soon.”  Then I asked him again what happened.  He said, “You got really, really low, Mom.  But you’re okay now.”

I listened as he and Daniel talked about me and then about the job.  Daniel remembered hearing about the EMT Cadet program that Corey had been part of before it shut down.  He said, “I could tell you’d had some sort of training by the way you handled things in there.  She’s up to one-nineteen now.  That’s much better.”

When the ambulance stopped, I remember noticing all the red brick and then seeing Casey, Melissa and Taylor standing outside the open doors as Corey and Daniel began to move me out into the cold air.  Then I saw Tommy, who I hadn’t even had time to wonder about.  They got me into a little room in the ER and another guy came in and tested my sugar.  “Sixty-nine,” he said.   Then he asked Daniel what my sugar had been last time and decided to give me a second dose of D50.  I’m not sure why this was done since by then I was able to eat and drink.  After researching about D50, I learned that it’s not good on the veins and Lord knows, I have bad enough veins to begin with!

I finally began to get warm after about 2 hours.  And my sugar began to rise too.  I had found out by now that Tommy had had Corey remove my pump as soon as he found me passed out.  I connected back to it and bolused for the 170+ sugar.  From that moment on, I would have to fight for every single unit of insulin I received during my 22-hour stay.

The hospitalist had me disconnect from my pump.  Don’t get me started on how little most hospital staff know about diabetes.  In this instance, since at that point we weren’t sure what had happened and thought maybe it had been a pump error that caused the severe low, I was okay with removing my pump.  However, I was NOT okay with the hospital’s method of dosing.  Nor with their schedule for testing my blood sugar.  According to them, if it wasn’t done on their glucometer, it wouldn’t be scanned into the system.  Whatever.  I still don’t want to wait til  you think it needs testing.  So when I check and it’s 198 and I tell you I need some insulin, don’t tell me it’s not time, you’ll bring it with my supper or you will be right back with it (then don’t come back for three more hours).  It was INFURIATING trying to manage my sugars in there.  

Also, don’t confuse your medical degree with my decades of first-hand, 24/7/365 experience of dealing with my own disease.  Thank you.

I’d forgotten how horrible diabetes-in-the-hospital can be.  When I complained to the hospitalist about the fact that my sugar was approaching 400 and I had asked several times for insulin, she told me in the ER (because apparently, if you work in the ER, you only know abut ER stuff??) they usually see diabetes patients with sugars well above 600 and have no clue they are running that high.  I informed her that —I— was not one of those patients and when my sugar got above 200, I felt sick and I wanted to keep it under that.  She agreed and said she’d write it in the chart.

I don’t know what “it” was, but the treatment I got regarding my insulin in no way resembled control.  I won’t keep going on about this.  Maybe it’s fodder for another post instead, but the reality of ill-educated medical staff when it comes to diabetes is just epidemic!

Okay, so when Tommy and I started going back through the history on my pump, we saw that I had somehow (“somehow”) given about 20 units more insulin after my meal of dumplings.  Obviously, I had needed more than I estimated, but not THAT much more.  When we looked at the times of the boluses, we could see that I’d given several of them either in my sleep or at such a low level that I didn’t realize what I was doing.  All I can figure is that I went to sleep frustrated over trying to give enough insulin to get my blood sugar down and had heard my CGM go off so many times that day that when it continued alerting, now for lows instead of highs, I would automatically bolus thinking it was still saying I was too high.

That and also what the pump trainer said… after bumping up my basal rates in tiny increments over the last several months, having the lung infection then being on all those meds, and then finally getting well, my body went back to its former insulin needs quicker than I expected or could adjust for them.  So it was another perfect storm as far as situations that combined to cause this horrible low.

I’m just immensely thankful to be alive.  I’m working to train myself out of the habit of just hitting that bolus button before testing and actually not to use it at all, but instead use a temporary basal rate to correct highs and an extended delivery (a square or dual-wave) bolus when I eat so all the insulin isn’t hitting my system at once.  Tommy, bless his heart, has been off all week watching over me and helping me test these adjustments to see exactly what works best.  He gets extremely stressed and fretful if my sugar gets to 60, which is something I’m not used to.  He’s usually the most calm, collected person I know, but after seeing me bleeding, lying in the floor seizing and thinking I was dying right in front of him, he now worries any time my sugar even hints at going low.

I am truly blessed with the best family ever.  If not for my hubby, who had called to check on me when I was around 50, but I don’t recall talking to him.  When he thought I was treating my low myself, he hung up with me, but then got busy with his work and didn’t call again until 30 minutes later when his app alerted him.  When he couldn’t get me on the phone, he called Corey to see if he could go check on me.  As soon as Corey found me, he called his dad and just said, “You need to come home, Dad, it’s bad.”   Tommy called 911 immediately and tore out of the work site heading home.

I’m not sure when Taylor and Casey arrived, but I’m pretty sure Corey called Casey and he called Taylor so she could come straight to the house when she got home from work.

Hopefully, my sharing these kinds of things will help you understand how hard it can be to manage and regulate diabetes.  That it’s not a cut-and-dried medical issue, not one-size-fits-all treatment and not even this-works-every-time because ultimately, Diabetes does it’s own thing sometimes and it doesn’t have to make sense.

It’s a cruel, exhausting disease so when you meet a person with diabetes, be kind.  Be sympathetic.  Be nice.  Shoot, just be that way all the time, but please extend a hand to the PWDs in your life.  As the meme goes, be kind to PWDs, we deal with enough pricks already.

Blessings,

G~


frankly friday: the D-word debate


So a guy I’ve gotten to know online who is a diabetes advocate (and a t1d himself) recently posted this great video about the whole issue of what to call someone “like me”….a “person with diabetes” or a “diabetic”.

Apparently, there remains a huge debate over this and some folks are really touchy about which one you choose to use.

Here’s the video I submitted as requested by my buddy in response to his video :  (btw–I’m planning to join the discussion if possible!)

 

I sorta-kinda used to be offended about being referred to as a “diabetic” back when I was first made aware of the idea.  I fell for the whole “don’t limit me with a label” and “you’re saying I’m nothing more than a disease when you say that!” mindset.  I say fell for because frankly, it didn’t last long.  It’s just not my nature to stay terribly upset by something like that.  I just got caught up by an idea that I’d never had before, I think.  That and it gets really old using that many words to say something that could be relayed with one word…and I find it awkward to always say “person with diabetes“.  Maybe that’s just me.

I really just got tired of being upset about it.  I wondered if, in the end, was it really worth my energy and emotional balance to get riled up about that, ya know?

Obviously, I’ve decided that for me, it’s not worth my time.  I don’t care if people refer to me as “a diabetic” or as “a person with diabetes“.  I try to use the terms interchangeably in my posts because I know there are people out there who really have an issue with it.  Since I don’t care one way or another, I try to be balanced with which term I use as a courtesy to my readers.

Here’s the thing…if someone says, “That’s Geannie.  She’s a mom.”  I’m not going to get all bent out of shape because, obviously, I am more than “just a mom”.  But that’s kinda a given, don’t you think?  Do YOU know anyone who is a mom or dad and absolutely nothing else?

No!  Of course not!  I guess I feel like this debate falls a bit too close to the whole “politically correct” atmosphere that seems to be epidemic everywhere in the US today.  My feelings are not that easily hurt most of the time.

I have come to really dislike hearing the fairly uncommon phrase “bad diabetic”, however.  Not that I go on a rant anytime someone says that.  I realize that it’s not meant as a personal insult or even a general one.  I figure that it’s just how some people speak, it’s how they were raised to talk about someone with a chronic disease.

But that got me to thinking that there’s really NOT another disease out there that is ever put into words like that.  I mean, you don’t say of someone “He’s a bad hemophiliac” or “she’s a bad pianist” ya know?  Nobody does that.  No one says “they are a bad cancer patient” when someone has had cancer for a long time.  I know that’s what at least one of my friends means when she introduces me to people that way (not EVERY time, but often enough to make me wince — ha ha!)  She just means, I think, that I have struggled with diabetes for a long time and it causes me various problems.

Honestly, I’ve never ever stopped someone or called them out for using that phrase.  Maybe one day I will, but probably not.  Anyone who has said that is either a family member or a friend.  People just don’t understand and I can extend them some grace for that.

People really DON’T understand diabetes at all unless they live with it or with someone who has it.  You can’t totally understand it otherwise.  But I sometimes assume people who know me know more about it than they do.

I have some friends who I love dearly, but we’re not super-close as in we don’t get together often or just chat/text on the phone regularly.  One friend, after being around when I had a hypo that kept me from driving home was sitting with me while I treated and she says, “I thought your pump took care of that.”

crickets

Yeah, I was stunned for a second.  I just didn’t realize anyone did, would or could think that a pump was essentially a cure.  It blew me away.  I quickly tried to expand her knowledge as best I could.  But I’m still not sure she really understood.

You see…people just don’t understand.  I always try to inform people as much as I can (when they show interest) about what diabetes is really like, what is means to live with it 24/7/365.  But not everyone can really grasp it all.

Like my one friend who will still refer to me as “a bad diabetic.  Bless her heart.  Even though I’ve posted various statuses about that or even mentioned something like that there really IS no bad/good kind of diabetes, she still doesn’t seem to understand.  And that’s okay.  It’s not on me to make sure she does.  We don’t see each other very often, so it’s not like there’s time or even a need to more fully educate her and make certain she is understanding.

And after all, it’s not like she’s calling me a “bad friend/wife/mother/singer/bungee jumper”… ya know?  There are a lot worse things to be called.  Ha ha!

But if you would like to understand more about how it is to live day in and day out with diabetes, ask me!  Ask me!!  I would much rather someone ask questions than make assumptions any day!


frankly friday: my top 3 type 1 peeves


I know guys, I KNOW!  I have really been awful about keeping up with FF posting, but it seems the past couple of weeks have just been so stinkin’ busy!  I promise I’ll try to do better.  I know the three of you depend on me for this.

BAHAHAHAHA!!

Anyhow, okay, so I’ve got some diabetical stuff that is just irking the snot right outta me lately.

#1 – Dexcom alarms:  Okay, I REALIZE that’s what the thing is for.  To alert us before our blood sugar gets completely out of control, but c’mon!  Am I the only one who gets SO sick of these things?  It’s not so much the “urgent low” or “high blood sugar” alerts as much as like, when you’ve treated your hypo, it continues to BEEP, BEEP, BEEP at you and you’re all like, “I KNOW it’s low!  Didn’t you see me drinking that juice just five minutes ago?”  Of course, I know Dex didn’t see me, but sheesh!  Then, of course, there are the alarms that you are rising too fast.  Or when your sugar’s been too high and you corrected… okay, maybe you even rage-bolused and now it’s hollerin’, “Comin’ in hot!  You’re gonna crash, you’re gonna crash!  Pull up!”  That’s my interpretation of the dropping fast alarms.   It’s like, “DUDE!  I’m at 330!  It’s okay with me if it drops fast right now, mm-kay?  Now, knock it off!”  I know it’s a lot to ask, but there’s gotta be some way to program the receiver so that it knows when you are too high and it’s okay if you’re dropping fast, or that your last readings were too low and you need to be going up quick.  Is that really too much to ask?  😉

Peeve #2- keeping your CGM stuck to your body:  I know, I KNOW!  EVERYBODY has this problem.  I just hate it though.  I mean, you know that Dexcom knows good and well that most of us will keep our sensor in as long as possible.  They HAVE to know it.  (and so help me, if they start doing something else to make it so that we have to go through this stuff even quicker, I’ll scream bloody murder!)  And I know there are companies who are working to remedy the problem of long-term stick-on-ness, but GAH!  I mean, I love my GrifGrips, but after about a week, they start fraying on the edges and looking pretty sad.  I got some of the SkinTac liquid and yeah, it helps, but I need to apply it when I first put the thing on me and not try to use it to re-stick the edges after a week or two.  It doesn’t work nearly as well like that.  That stuff is STICK-EE!  I will be interested to see how much improvement I get from applying first instead of waiting til there are problems.  I also understand people with skin issues who have a hard time finding ANY adhesive material that doesn’t break them out.  Thank God, I haven’t had any trouble with the adhesive that comes on the sensor or the pump port, but I have had some issues, slight issues, but worrisome still with other adhesives.  I’ve used the Grifs about 5 or 6 times now and only had one time that it bothered me so much I had to take it off.  That was when I had it on a pump site on my stomach.  It was fine for two days and then started itching slightly.  I didn’t get concerned about it then, but by the end of day 3, it was itching pretty bad, but still with periods of not itching.  By mid-day 4, I had to take the thing off.  (yes, I keep my pump sites til the pump reads “NO DELIVERY”, so yeah, Day 4 which was going to be time to change out anyway)  I had the perfect outline of my cute little camo heart in red, angry skin.  It stayed like that for about 3 days, too.  Very worrisome, but I haven’t had problems with it on my arms.  Thank God for that!  So yeah, the whole how-do-I-keep-this-thing-stuck-to-me struggle…if someone could fix that, that’d be great.  

And the last thing on my list of peeves (for today) is….

Peeve #3-When your tubing gets hung on stuff.  I know you Omni
Pod people don’t have to worry about that, but let’s not start all that “I don’t have a tube” nonsense right now, okay?  This is about me and what irks ME.  Ha ha ha…  I have been with Medtronic since 2004 when I got my first pump and honestly, they’ve been great when I’ve had problems and I have just not reconciled the risk of knocking the pod off and losing 

all the insulin in it to the freedom of not dealing with the tubing.  Anyhow, so since I’m not ready to try the Pod, I’m still dealing with tubing issues.  They don’t happen all the time, but when they do, ARGH!!

 

Okay, so that’s my diabetes-related Friday post, kiddies.  I know.  Not much to write home about, but doncha dig my memes?  Ha ha!

Tell me what YOUR biggest peeves are!

Hugs,

G~


I swear I’m not really a slacker!


Okay, well, maybe I am SOMEtimes, but not with the blog.  My life has just been crazy lately, y’all!

Besides beginning treatment with my new chiropractor-friend from Emmaus, (an hour + drive each way!) I went camping in The Gorge with some of my kiddos this past weekend.  Observe:

Here's li'l Abdab, my adopted daughter (she's my DIL Melissa's sister. :) ) with Corey & Mel's dog, Timber, sitting in literally the coolest place in the forest! (the air blowing out of that crevass was just like a/c!

Here’s li’l Ab-dab, my adopted daughter (she’s my DIL Melissa’s sister. 🙂 ) with Corey & Mel’s dog, Timber, sitting in literally the coolest place in the forest! (the air blowing out of that crevasse was just like a/c!

My eldest kids are all into rock climbing.  I have no clue where they would get such a crazy affection, but they have it bad.  They’ve gone from rock gyms to climbing outdoors in the real world (where there are no mats on the floor, guys!) and even worse, my baby boy does “lead” climbing which is when they go up a route where there is no rope, only anchors, and they attach the rope as they climb so that the other climbers can then “top rope”, which a tons safer because they are secured with the rope that anchors to the top and is controlled by a belayer.  Just trust me, I was not really thrilled to hear that Corey was doing lead climbing now!

Here's my big baby boy. As you can see, he's not wearing the helmet his mama bought him for his birthday. *huff* I'm up on another section of rock snapping this pic, so you can't tell how far up he actually is.

A mother’s pride in her child’s accomplishments is often mingled with a terrifying fear for their safety.  The strength of her faith in God’s hand on them often determines which emotion wins.  ~Geannie

We really love going to Red River Gorge, despite the hour + drive.  Honestly, we know we’re blessed to have such an awesome natural wonder so near our home!  It’s a rock climber’s dream and people from all over the country (& even other countries!) come here for the climbing.

Some of us, however, are just there to lazy around…

Max and Tommy, just hanging out, watching all the action high above...

Max and Tommy, just hanging out, watching all the action high above…

Make note of the area underneath the hammock, if you will, for reference in a later story…Yes, it’s every bit as hard and sloped and dangerous as it looks.

Tommy may not have been the only one who “lazied”… after the all-natural a/c, this was my favorite part:

Always with the doggies... :)

Always with the doggies… 🙂

My little Max was always up for an adventure, but he also was no fool about taking advantage of the natural air conditioning available!  Neither was I, obviously!

My li'l cutie, always nearby, keeping track of Mama.

My li’l cutie, always nearby, keeping track of Mama.

I thought I was going to get by without having to worry about the Hubs getting himself killed, but nope.  He had to give it a try too…

Poor guy, knowing he has added many pounds to his frame since the last time he tried this, he gives it a go anyhow...

Poor guy, knowing he has added many pounds to his frame since the last time he tried this, he gives it a go anyhow…

Thankfully, he made it back down using the rope and not natural gravity after realizing it just wasn’t gonna happen.  He got farther than I thought he might.  Ha..farther than I would have!  Abby made it to the top of this route, classified as a 5.9 (don’t ask me, but they said this was impressive)!  She was worn out afterward, which is to be expected, but I was really proud of the little stinker!  She’s lots braver than me!

The poor dogs got worn out considerably sooner.  You’d have thought they were the ones climbing rock walls…but I guess it’s not really much fun tromping around the woods in a fur coat, huh?

Poor Max...

Poor Max… “I’m over this, you guys.”

The Gorge has some very awesome eating establishments, too.  Even though we had packed food to prepare at camp, we ended up at SkyBridge more than once.  It’s the closest to the campground we were at and not only has awesome food, but a great atmosphere.  You just don’t know what to expect from those guys at SkyBridge…

Here's Abby, after asking if she could please have some extra sour cream...the guy came out, plopped this on the table and ran off. We had to take the spoon away from her or she'd have eaten the entire thing like a bowl of ice cream!

Here’s Abby, after asking if she could please have some extra sour cream…the guy came out, plopped this on the table and ran off. We had to take the spoon away from her or she’d have eaten the entire thing like a bowl of ice cream!

Here’s only a portion of the aftermath of one of our trips to SkyBridge:

Red River Gorge is also the location of the Ale8one bottling facility! It's the only place you can order Ale8 or get it from a soda fountain or reliably find it in vending machines! We love it, obviously! :)

Red River Gorge is also the location of the Ale8one bottling facility! It’s the only place you can order Ale8 in restaurants or get it from a soda fountain or reliably find it in vending machines! We love it, obviously! 🙂

We camped at Koomer Ridge campground and it has become our favorite.  Abby and Austin had to leave Saturday night and then Corey and Melissa left early Sunday morning, so that left Tommy, Max and myself all on our own the rest of the day.

I'm not sure if Max was resting/relieved to be left on his own or depressed about Timber being gone...

I’m not sure if Max was resting/relieved to be left on his own or depressed about Timber being gone…

Dad cooking over the fire & Max, waiting to see if he drops a morsel

Dad cooking over the fire & Max, waiting to see if he drops a morsel

Ready for the service to start! ( http://thecreekchurch.com )

Ready for the service to start! ( http://thecreekchurch.com )

 

 

 

Tommy and I had a super-relaxed morning, just slowly packing up while cooking ourselves a monstrous breakfast and waiting to watch our church service stream live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This gets as many stares on the campgrounds as a nerdy guy sporting some model on his arm at the bar! ;)

This gets as many stares on the campgrounds as a nerdy guy sporting some model on his arm at the bar! 😉

 

Can’t let you go without a shot of the great cast iron setup we have…some of the cookware is Corey’s, but Tommy made the stand, which also doubles as a free-standing tripod, on his forge.

 

 

 

Most of The Gorge, or “The Red” as the climbers refer to it, is located within Daniel Boone National Forest and the area just abounds in natural beauty and all manner of outdoor adventures.  Natural Bridge State Park is another awesome attraction as well as things like Nada Tunnel and the Gladie Welcome Center.

So, referring back to the rough terrain located underneath the hammock that was hung while we were out with the climbers… we moved it from the location in the photo to another place, steeper and with more jutting rocks underneath.  Tommy insisted I sit in it since there was no glorious air conditioning rock-crack at the next place.  I did and was enjoying watching the kids when he comes over and proceeds to wriggle his big ol’ self up in the thing with me!

I immediately started protesting, telling him he was going to “break the trees”, only it wasn’t the trees I should have worried about.  I was really NOT happy that he’d got in there and would have gotten out if it hadn’t been such a physical challenge, but I was thinking about the easiest way to get up out of the thing when PING… I heard the odd noise and immediately felt the hammock move beneath me and BAM we hit the ground, right on top of those big rocks sticking out of the ground and proceeded to slide down the steep slope.

ARGH!  Yes, really, I could have clobbered Tommy right then.  He still has a red welt on his back and I’m still nursing the bruises.  Then I had to explain that all to my chiropractor the next day.  Sheesh!

You’re welcome.  It seems everyone got a good laugh from that one.  sigh

Other “injuries” sustained include my poor foot…I’m making this a small photo in black and white in the hopes of not grossing anyone out, but my right foot has always had this big callous of a thing that always has a shallow split.  But when I walked up the steep grades with my Chacos (which have a rough inner sole) I ended up with it splitting further, so much so it began to hurt.
Tommy, also in his Chacos all weekend, but only because he forgot his boots, ended up with terribly swollen feet.  Maybe it’s just old age?

Anyhow, I’m really not slacking…I’m just busy adventuring and being battered by nature.  Hahahaha!!

Til next time!

Blessings,

G~


frankly friday: t1d & the lockdown


To be perfectly honest, this is not something I’ve ever thought about.  Both because back in the olden days when I was in school (shut up) we never had lockdowns or any such emergency situations as are almost common today.  We didn’t have protocols for how to take care of chronically ill children.  We basically just did the best we could with what we could get a school to conform with for our individual need.

I know.  Scary, right?

But a few days ago, I ran across an article posted by my young mom friend who’s daughter was recently diagnosed with t1d.  She’d posted it on Facebook with this comment tagged to her husband…“One more thing we have to worry about now.”

That broke my heart thinking about how stressful it has to be having a child with type 1.  The article was about the problems that can occur for a type 1 child when all their diabetes supplies are kept in a nurse’s office if there is a lockdown of the school.

This literally never crossed my mind since I homeschooled my sons.  But to think of it in terms of diabetes care… oh my!  It’s terrifying!

So here’s a link to the article.

How have you dealt with this type of issue?  Have you needed to make adjustments for you or your child because of a lockdown?

(I also found this cool list of things “teachers” should know, but I think EVERYONE needs to know this stuff!  😉 )


I’m a slacker (or hypo?)


ADDENDUM:  I had this all ready to go Tuesday, feeling SO guilty for not having posted SOMEthing already when Chrome locked up on me.  (for some reason, it hates when I try to load a “featured image”  argh!)  so I fiddled with trying to get it to work until I gave up.  I’ve had major neck/shoulder pain for months & now that’s worse (plus this morning, my left jaw is killing me?!?!) so I went to lie down with an ice pack hoping to ease the pain some.  I ended up falling asleep and waking to the phone ringing.  It was Tommy & he’d apparently called a few times already.  He kept saying, “Go check your sugar!”  I kept saying, “It’s too cold!” but I finally realized I must have been really low (I was in the freezing stage after sweating so  much the sheets were wet!) So I tested:  35.  Sheesh!  Anyhow, I never got around to posting this yesterday… Argh!  #stupiddiabetes )

Seriously!  I completely missed posting anything this past “frankly friday”!  In my defense, it has been cray-ZEE around here.

Tommy and I are both serving Emmaus walks this month.  He just got back Sunday evening.   We are now a one-vehicle family until he gets this other truck fixed, so I took him down to camp Thursday afternoon.  It was hotter than blue blazes and I was sweating like a racehorse, but they needed some help, so I stayed and assisted doing what I could.

I had been given the “community laptop” a week or so earlier by the lady who usually keeps it since she’s moving out of town and told to give it to the director of the women’s walk.  It never dawned on me that they would need it for the men’s walk too.  Heh.  So, there I stood like a doofus with them asking me where it was.  “Hey, I was told to give it to her!  That’s what I planned to do!… NEXT week!”  LOL!  So, I needed to drive the 30 miles back home to get that computer and bring back.

Which was fine, but I didn’t plan on not getting to head out til after 10:30 that night!!  I will be serving as the prayer team coordinator, which I’ve done before, so it’s not a huge deal, but our daughter-in-law Taylor has been asked to be dining room coordinator, and she’s never even served on the dining room team before, so she’s a little stressed.  Anyhow, I’ve been DR Coord many times so I’ve been trying to help her with tips and ideas.  That position requires decorating the dining room for each meal and moving the tables into the various formations Emmaus uses.  That most often means borrowing decor from anyone who might be willing to loan what you need.  After doing this so many times, a few times at the last minute, I’ve gotten to where I try to do the most with the least amount of stuff possible.  It’s a lot of on-your-feet, hurry-hurry-wait-hurry sort of stuff.  All day, every day!  You also serve the meals and help clean the tables, so it can feel like you never get to sit down.  It’s fun, the decorating can be a blast, but it is definitely physical and tiring!

So anyway, I had told Taylor I’d pick up some of the stuff from a lady there at camp so she wouldn’t have to make the trip.  Once I got to her house, she got a visitor, someone I also knew but not very well.  As I sat there, watching it get darker and darker outside while they chatted about stuff I wasn’t in the loop on, I started thinking about how late it was going to be getting back with that laptop.

The new dining hall (with chapel attached in back) completed 2013

LOL… so finally, company left and I loaded the box into the truck, drove straight home where all the dogs were waiting to be fed, the chickens to be watered, eggs to be gathered and then there was Max, who was nasty and needed a bath before he’d be fit to be in the house!

Once I got Max bathed and dried, I fixed myself a bite to eat.  It was now a little after 11 pm.  I contemplated just waiting to take the laptop early the next morning, but decided I did NOT want to get up at 6 am and drive down there and straight back (OR get caught down there doing something or other!  LOL)  so I loaded Max and the computer and took off.

Everyone seemed to have turned in already, so I left the laptop in the dark Agape room and headed straight back home.  Tommy called me about the time I got back to the interstate, floored that I’d already come and gone.  I didn’t want to wander around the men’s camp looking for him, and it was so late, I thought maybe he’d gone to bed.  Anyhow, by the time I got home the second time, it was about 11:45 or so.

I collapsed on the couch and thought, “I should sleep really good.” only… I couldn’t fall asleep.  I wasn’t even feeling a little sleepy.  SHEESH!

This happens to me all the time.  There’s something about Tommy being gone that keeps me from sleeping.  It’s not really that I’m afraid or that I hear every little noise, whatever… I just can’t rest.  Maybe it’s from all the years he worked construction and when I’d finally go to bed after getting too tired to wait up, just about the time I’d fall asleep, he’d get home and wake me up showering and getting into bed.  Then it would take me another hour to fall back to sleep.  Maybe I just got used to that??  I dunno, but whatever it is, I can’t sleep when he’s gone, so it was after 3 am before I finally crawled into bed and slept.

inside the new chapel

The next morning (er, afternoon?) I woke up just in time to realize I would miss the hair appointment I’d made.  ARGH!  I need my hair cut in THE worst way!  I called my stylist, who is also an Emmaus friend and she informs me that she was getting ready to call me because she was worried.  sigh  I explained and apologized.  She didn’t have another opening til Wednesday, so I’m still having to put up with this horrible hair!

I felt kinda crampy and my neck/shoulder has been a lot worse lately, so I didn’t get much accomplished other than a little laundry and a few dishes.  I worked on lists and schedules for the prayer team and later I went up to Taylor’s to help paint some decor she’d bought for camp.  I sat and visited with her and Casey while they ate supper, too so that was nice.

I rested a little better that night, but it was after midnight before I could fall asleep.  Saturday was busy since our eldest son, Corey, was going to be singing at camp that night for dinner and during special service.  I wanted to catch a ride with someone but wasn’t able to, so I ended up driving back home around 10 pm by myself again.  Ugh.

Sunday, I had to go serve at church for the early service, so when I got done there, after service, I drove through Wendy’s and got a bite to eat and headed on home.  I ate my food and flopped back into bed.  By now, the cramping was pretty constant so I didn’t feel much good at all.  I slept til about 2 pm when I got up and started getting ready to head back to camp for closing.

By the time I had checked on the things and talked to the people I needed to in prep for the next weekend, and we stopped for supper, it was about 8 pm by the time we got home and Tommy was exhausted and ready to hit the hay.  And so, we did.  LOL!

beautiful sunset behind the bell tower

I woke up around 11 pm, got up and took my night meds and went back to bed.  Tommy might have got up once to use the bathroom, but otherwise, he slept til time to get up for work the next morning.

So now I’m working to get the rest of my stuff prepared for the weekend (which will begin Thursday) and help Taylor finish the rest of her stuff for dining room.  I still have to pack my clothes and stuff, but think I’ll wait til I get back from my hair appointment tomorrow.  I also have to stop by the store and pick up some things I’ll need down at camp.

beautiful area on the grounds…

Right now, I’m trying to get some focus, some ‘stress-relief’, some ‘stop worrying’… ha.  I always love working at camp.  It’s such a beautiful place and working with other Jesus-loving people is always a great refresher for my soul.  Seeing God move in people’s lives is a great blessing too!

Now I need to go post the link to the 72-hour prayer vigil again.  I still have lots of spaces to fill before Thursday!  If you’d like to help by taking a 30-minute prayer slot, please use THIS LINK!  And THANK YOU!

 


ol’ Dex…


And I mean that literally!  I’m on Day 20 with this particular Dexcom sensor.  I hesitate to announce this publicly because, well, y’know, that’s definitely not recommended by the manufacturer!  However, I am out of sensors and have been for awhile.  We are awaiting a check that I’ll have to use to pay off the initial costs of getting my Dexcom G5 system in the first place so that I can order (and hopefully afford!) some new sensors and in a few more months, a set of new transmitters.  SIGH!

So, I decided to see how long I could wear this baby and it remain #1) attached to me (that’s the hardest part, guys!), #2) pain-free and without signs of infection (none whatsoever) and lastly, #3) remain accurate.  That last one has really surprised me.  This thing is STILL extremely accurate!  There have been a few instances when it was as much as 10 points off from what my fingerstick was, but the rest of the time it’s been as little as 1 point different!  That is pretty flippin’ amazing if you ask me!

Can you believe how good it still looks? (that photo is from today, Day 20) Now, I have had a GrifsGrip on it up until yesterday.  It had gotten pretty raggedy-looking, and I was tired of trying to find shirts that would cover the thing, so we took the risk and took the Grifs off.  Honestly, that’s probably why this looks as good as it does.  The Grifs protected it.

I’m not comfortable going without some extra stick-em when I have this on my arm, so I bought a small supply of the grips, which you can find here.  I bought a few for my pump port as well since summer time for me is notorious for loose adhesives and lost diabetical ‘attachments’.  Since we haven’t been on the bikes (WAIL) much at all this summer, I haven’t needed them as much as I would have, but I have them in hopes of more pedal-time this fall and next summer!  I am going to forbid Tommy from taking any extra projects, no matter who’s broke down or begging for his help.  Seriously, for both of us, relegating bike time to the back burner has been detrimental.  Both of us are heavier than we were at the beginning of summer, and of course, we are much less fit or toned.  I just HATE that we haven’t gone and yeah, I could go by myself or meet up with a group occasionally, but I just don’t enjoy it without him and I’d feel guilty if I went knowing he would love to ride too.  SIGH  What a conundrum!  But for reals, people.  If there are any of my real-life peeps reading, just don’t even think of asking him to do a project for you unless it’s going to pay extremely well.  That’d be the only reason to accept…the chance to pay off some bills.  Otherwise, we just HAVE to get ourselves back on those bikes.  Our health is suffering.  And I am sad.

Okay, the main purpose of this post was to share how freakin’ long I have been able to wear this sensor!  Granted, I am new to this stuff…extending CGM time as long as possible, but wow, after reading so much stuff about how short a life the G5 sensors (and transmitters) have, I have been pleasantly surprised.  And yes, I’ll be sure to snap a pic when I take this one off so you all can see how well my flesh held up under there.  I’m just glad there’s been no itchy reactions!

Wait…speaking of reactions…I’ve used a total of four GrifsGrips and have been really pleased with how well they work, how they are very flexible and keep things stuck on me.  I’ve had two for CGMs on my arms and two for pump ports on my stomach.  The first on my stomach did a wonderful job.  Anticipating an upcoming camping trip, I used another on the opposite side when I changed my sets.  That one started itching on day 2.  Not a LOT, but enough for me to notice.  I tried to leave it alone, after all, there’s not much you can do when one of those things itches.  The next day, it was noticeably worse and I tried to let it be, but by mid-day, I tore the thing off to find a perfect outline of the heart-shaped Grifs I’d had on in light red, angry-looking skin.

Sheesh!!  Since I just took this last Grifs off my arm today, as you can see in the photo, the skin looks absolutely fine so I’m not sure what’s up with that.  I will try them again on my stomach once this heals on up.

Another “stick-em” thing I just got in but haven’t used yet is this…

I’d been hearing about SkinTac for awhile, so I just asked about it on TuDiabetes and jumped in and ordered some.  So now I have it to use next time we try extending the life of a Grifs.  I hope I’m not allergic to it, but it seems to be pretty well tolerated for most everyone.  This also comes in wipes, but I felt the liquid would work better for what I want.  Some folks use the wipes every time before even applying their sensor or inserting their pump ports.  I may try that later if this works well.  Keeping those things attached is a major weight off the mind, lemme tell you!  (you may have seen my instagram photo of using an Ace bandage to keep a sensor in place…yeah…not fun!) 

So…I guess that’s it until I update you with some pix of how the site looks after I remove this sensor.  Check back for the follow up!

Blessings!


frankly friday: to glucagon or not (it shouldn’t be a question)


Hello all you happy people.  I’ve got another diabetes issue clanking around my brain lately.  First, let me explain about that funny word in the title…

GLUCAGON- n. (gloo-KA-gon)  Glucagon is a naturally occurring hormone.  It raises blood glucose whenever it falls too low.  …in a REGULAR person, that is.  For us diabetics, we may or may not still secrete some glucagon naturally.  The thing is, if we’ve over-dosed our insulin or had more exercise or stress or missed a meal… we could end up with LOTS more insulin in our bodies than would ever happen normally in a non-diabetic.  So, if that happens, and we still secrete a little glucagon ourselves, it will still not be enough to prevent hypoglycemia.  We will still go severely low and may lose consciousness or even die.  (here is an even better explanation!)

Low blood sugar is SERIOUS!  That’s why you always see a type 1 with tons of snacks or other means of raising blood sugar if necessary.

Yep, this is why most T1Ds carry huge purses (or the guys even carry a bag in the first place!) We have A LOT of stuff to keep with us!

RABBIT TRAIL:  While I’m on this topic, let me just say that it is tough having to treat a medical condition, a potentially deadly medical condition, with food.  Countless type 1’s have been heckled, bullied, scorned, gossiped about…you name it, over this self-preservation method we MUST use.

This is what a lot of people picture when they think of a type 1 needing to “have a snack”… *siiiigh*

Let me explain…let’s say for instance, you are in a roomful of high school students, taking a test perhaps, and you begin to feel your sugar dropping.  The rule of this class, from this teacher, is no candy in class.  The fastest way to counter the impending hypo is to quickly chew up a couple peppermints or glucose tabs or Lifesavers (my fave).  The teacher is aware of your condition (because you informed them, like a good diabetic) but the kids sitting around you may not.  Even if they do, because they don’t know anything about diabetes, they think you are faking, milking it or worse, doing it for spite.  Then there are those times (BTDT too many times!) when you have a substitute OR even a regular teacher who doesn’t understand diabetes and is completely uncooperative or gives you a hard time about treating hypos in or during class.  (remind me to tell you about the middle school teacher I had who had flunked out of med school & insisted on making a major production every time I went low in his class!!   GAH!!)

Then there are those wonderful times when, as an adult…maybe a parent, even, when you have to treat in front of children.  That’s always lovely.  Here… these photos will give you the gist of what I mean:

    

(thanks, Jimmy Kimmel, for these perfect examples of how kids respond when they think you’re hogging all the candy)

Then you have co-workers and such who will respond this way:

    

Yeah, no matter how many times you explain, no matter how much info you give them, they STILL don’t get why you have to stop and EAT FOOD and you call it “treatment” or say it’s because you are sick.

That’s the big problem…people don’t see food as “medicine”, they don’t relate food intake with how the body functions.  They don’t get that as type 1 diabetics, we must MANUALLY balance food intake with energy expenditures and insulin dosages.  EVERY DAY.  ALL DAY.  And even while we sleep.  They don’t get that if we have too much insulin (or perhaps overexert or expend too much energy for the nutrients in our bodies) or if we don’t inject insulin according to our food intake, or if we experience an illness (like a cold, people.  A COLD can derail our diabetes!) or excess stress, it can cause all sorts of problems for us simply because we do NOT have a functioning pancreas to do all that thinking for us like everyone else.

deep breath  Sorry…thought I needed to throw that stuff in there.  Heh.

Okay, so back to the glucagon question.  You see, like EVERYTHING ELSE with diabetes, (and most any other illness or disease these days!) medication and supplies are NOT cheap.  With diabetes, there’s a never-ending list of supplies that we need and most of those need to be kept with us, on our person, all the time.  Especially when travelling or any sort of activity where we are away from home.

                                                       just a drop in the bucket

The point to all this is…when trying to decide what to spend our family’s limited funds on, medically speaking, I sometimes have to choose what is absolutely vital over what is not-so-absolutely vital.  Yeah…stinky choices, I know.  So when I have to pick, I must choose my insulin (because without that, I will die) and all the instruments I need to administer the insulin (reservoirs, tubing sets, batteries, alcohol swabs, syringes in case the pump fails) and also testing supplies so I know how to dose the insulin (test strips, lancets, sensors, transmitters and batteries).  Other than those, I also need adequate food supply and foods that can be carried easily, so certain types of snacks and candy and/or glucose tabs or gels.  When figuring all this up, most often, spending another $50 on a glucagon kit, which always has a short shelf-life and will likely expire before I need it (which means it must be thrown away)  becomes an easy “no” and usually a very distant after-thought.

                                                                    The glucagon kit.

Fifty bucks might not be a lot to you, but to us, it’s a small fortune.  I have a REALLY hard time laying out $50 that most often has to be thrown away in a few short months.

However, when you are sitting on a highway in another state with no exits in sight and no way to get off the road (because you’re with the Hubby in his work truck pulling a trailer) and you are popping Lifesavers in your mouth, chewing as fast as you can, drinking a can of Coke and trying to fend off a very aggressive low that feels like it’s threatening to put you under…you begin to feel really stupid about not spending that $50 bucks.  That is, you feel stupid in between your life flashing before your eyes, wondering if you told your kids you loved them enough or hugged your mom the last time you saw her or if your best friends know how much you love them.

I’m not exaggerating.  That’s how it feels when you are close to passing out while your blood sugar is plummeting.  It’s horrible and you do NOT want to experience it.

So what’s a poor diabetic supposed to do?

I honestly don’t know right now.  I mean, if it was just a matter of scrounging up the extra money so I’d have the thing, it wouldn’t be a big deal.  But when it expires so quickly and it’s not every day/week/month or even year that you even need a kit??  It’s hard to know what to do.

However, it’s those times that you never suspect, the times you could never “plan” for, those times when you ~thought~ you planned everything very, very well–when you ate properly, counted all the carbs, dosed exactly as prescribed but STILL everything goes wrong….those are the times you keep a kit for.

How do YOU deal with this?  I have been reading and chatting with folks in the DOC about this and some have great insurance so keeping a good kit isn’t an issue, others speak of never being without several for their children (which would TOTALLY different!  it’s much easier to risk my own life…I’d never be without a kit for one of my children!)   So how do YOU handle this issue?  What do you think should or could be done??  I know making the kits more affordable would be an awesome first step for me.  Even half that price would be helpful.  I don’t understand why insurance doesn’t cover them more than they do since having one of these kits can help me avoid a trip to the ER or worse.

Before we discuss, let me drop this info on you…I know many people, even in my own family, who would shudder at the thought of having to mix a medication and give me an injection in an emergency.  I understand.  Opening a glucagon kit when someone you love is passed out can be intensely scary!  People panic, especially since it has to be mixed, not just drawn out like insulin.  Maybe I’m just way out of the loop on this, but Eli Lilly has an app to show people how to use glucagon!  I’m not sure how this would work, especially if you use a password on your phone (and I think most people do these days!) but there IS an app!!  Look: 

Cool!

Okay, so let’s dish…what is your stance on the glucagon issue?  Is it hard for you to afford and/or justify purchasing it for yourself?  How do you handle it?

Inquiring minds want to know…

 


frankly friday: about that cure, though


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the whole “cure for diabetes” thing.

It’s these kinds of “ads” that mislead & misinform the masses. Argh!

There are really two lines of thought on this for me.  There’s the thing where everyone and their brother tells you about some wacky “cure” — everything from cinnamon to okra water and lots of stuff in between.   Those just irk me most of the time.

After over 40 years of living with T1D, I’ve had TONS of so-called “cures” offered to me and extolled to me by very impassioned and well-meaning folks.

More misleading click-bait. Do you know what honey does to a T1D??!?!!

Most of the time I just smile and let it go.  Yes, it drives me nuts that people, especially those close to me, don’t get that there’s a difference, a HUGE difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes…that type 1 is NOT caused by lifestyle or diet or weight nor can it be reversed or, as yet, cured.  They don’t get that type 1 means “insulin deficient” and type 2 means “insulin resistant”.  They don’t get that while, yes, sometimes people they’ve known with type 2, when it IS caused by lifestyle, can be reversed while other times for other reasons, it cannot.

Seriously? Argh!

They don’t get that diabetes is different than “hypoglycemia” or even that “hypo” isn’t actually a disease but rather a symptom, a passing event that diabetics can have and also non-diabetics can experience if they don’t eat correctly.

I usually let those go unless I see that kind of stuff being pushed on someone who is newly diagnosed or is a care-giver of a type 1.  They don’t always know any better so I normally will either step in while the concerned person is explaining their chosen “cure” or I’ll talk to the other person privately and explain that none of that is remotely true.

sigh

Okay, then there is the actual, legitimately possible cures that are in the works.  For YEARS I have heard “there will be a cure for diabetes in 5 to 10 years” and yet, here I am, at the beginning of my 5th decade of living with type 1 with no evidence of this cure.

However…there are some promising improvements to diabetes treatment in the pipelines.  While they are still not “cures”, per se, they are definite steps in the right direction.

While I have an insulin pump, a device that helps me avoid multiple injections each day AND provides an adjustable baseline delivery of insulin (basal rate) throughout the day and night, there are some new devices on the horizon being referred to as artificial, or bionic pancreases.

Genesis, from Pancreum

The Genesis by Pancreum

is the latest one I’ve read about.  There is also this one, the iLet from BetaBionic, that I’ve been reading and hearing about the longest.

The iLet by BetaBionics

This one was, the best I know, the beginning of the idea of putting both insulin and glucagon (essentially, the opposite of insulin) into one device to go beyond what an insulin pump can do in closely controlling blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetics.  The idea was born in the mind of a dad, Ed Damiano, who wanted better for his type 1 son, David, who was diagnosed at 11 months when the idea that one day, David would go off to college and not have him or David’s mother there to watch over him.  I guess that would be every D-parent’s nightmare, right?  So Ed began to work on this idea of a better way to regulate blood sugars.  And now, after many years and much effort, the iLet “bionic pancreas” has moved into clinical trials.

That is BEYOND exciting to me!  I mean, yes, it’s NOT a cure, but it would be SO MUCH CLOSER to being able to live a “normal” life for most type 1 diabetics.

If you watch the video linked to Ed’s name up there, you’ll get a bit better understanding of why, since we now have these great insulin pumps and CGMs, we need this new technology to work.  No matter HOW long you live with T1D, there will come a time when something goes wrong.  A set is defective or gets pulled out in your sleep and your sugar goes too high or you forget to bolus, under-bolus or your insulin is bad and you end up hypo or possibly high again.  There is ALWAYS some uncontrollable factor that can really jack you up as a T1.  Stress, unexpected travel, an emergency, sickness, an overtime shift at work, the baby gets colic and won’t sleep, you fight with your spouse… seriously, pretty much ANYthing can affect our blood sugar, so simply having a device that delivers insulin isn’t the best possible answer.  The advent of CGM availability was a BIG step forward, but still, not enough to remove enough ability of variables to mess up one’s levels.  I’m sure a bionic pancreas won’t be the end-all-be-all we all dream about, but I’m hoping it will be another huge step forward and I’m praying that I might be one of the lucky ones who will benefit from it eventually.

In the meantime, c’mon, Cure… we’re still waiting for you!!  Enough of this already!