The beauty of choice.

I recently read a post on the diabetes sub-Reddit from someone claiming that their doctor said MDI was the best way to manage diabetes.  This lead to a fury of posts from people claiming “No, no, no, the pump is the best” or “I agree with you!  MDI is the way to go!”.  This got me thinking…

There is no BEST course of action for managing diabetes.  What may work for me (currently cyborging with a pump and CGM) may not work for you.  Heck, what works for me right now hasn’t worked for me in the past (remember that time I took almost a year-long pump vacation?  Yeah.) and may not work for me in the future (sometimes been a cyborg gets old).

The great thing is that we have options.  We, as PWD, have the beauty of choice (of course within the realm of our finances, insurance plans, etc.).  I may be going to a wedding or on a vacation and a pump may not work with my vacation plans or my outfit (cue my inner Cher from Clueless “Ummm, a pump doesn’t really go with this outfit, Daddy”). So, I can rock MDI for a bit.  I may get sick of the constant information about my blood sugar, so out comes the CGM.  I may be planning a pregnancy so I may want the tightest control possible right now and for me, that comes in the form of a CGM and a pager/camera.  In a world surrounded by blood sugar testing, carb counting, and insulin dosing, it’s nice to have just a little bit of freedom.

It’s important to remember that what works for you may not work for someone else.  And it’s hard to not say “Hey, have you tried what I’m doing?  Because it rocks.”  I know I’m guilty of this and I hope that when I suggest things to people who may be struggling with their management or are looking to shake things up, they know I’m not judging them for their choices in diabetes care.  I’m just offering friendly tips about what is currently working/not working for me and different things they can try.  Because change is good.  And choice is great.

 

Talk to me Tuesday

Recently I’ve been in a bit of a blog slump.  I reached out to my Twitter BFF Doug to ask him for some post ideas.  He’s given me a bunch, one of which is to E-interview fellow bloggers, twitter peeps, or other PWD.   You lucky dog, Doug.  You’re my first victim.

Tell me the basics. What’s your name?  Where are you from? When were you diagnosed with the D?
Doug, Laramie, WY, DXd spring 1984

Care to share your diagnosis story?
Nothing interesting… lost weight, constant thirst leading to constant peeing. Actually drank way too much 7Up and Kool Aid to help with the thirst thing. My HS French teacher, Ms Urbanski (a T1 PWD herself) actually noticed the symptoms and told my sister that she suspected I had diabetes. I concurred since I had been researching my symptoms in the library… this was before Dr. Google and the internet. Off we went to family Dr, and boom… straight to the hospital we went.
Well done Ms. Urbanski!

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your newly diagnosed self?
I would tell him to not be lazy, testing and a good diet are easy compared to the complications that could (would?) arise. Oh, and stick to the XC skiing thing. Kris Freeman doesn’t have to be the first US skier with Type 1 to compete in the olympics 😉
(I have no idea who Kris Freeman is…)

What treatment methods do you use to manage your diabetes?  Why have you chosen this particular method?
MDI, using pens.  Researched on internet after a bad A1c and decided I needed change. My Dr. gave me samples, but no useful instructions, so I again used WWW to dial myself in. 3 months later, my a1c was 6.7.

Have you considered the pump? Are you on a CGM?
I considered an OmniPod… was denied by insurance because my Dr at that time was not a strong advocate for me. My new endo wants me on one, but I haven’t yet decided which to try for. Animas, Medtronic, t:slim or the new Snap. I desperately want a Dexcom!
I of course rambled on and on about how obsessed I am with my Dexcom, I’m sure Doug’s eyes were glazing over as he was reading my response.  Sorry, friend.

Some non-D stuff.  What are some of your hobbies?
Outdoor sports like cycling, XC skiing, kayaking.

In the past year, what’s been your greatest achievement? D-related or not!
Proud daddy to my 6 month old daughter, Maggie.

Who inspires you?
Lately it has been Maggie. I have done so much to be sure I get to see her grow up.

Like what?  How has your attitude towards your diabetes management changed since you’ve become a father?
Maggie deserves to have a dad for as long as she can. One she can look to for advice, or someone to walk her down the aisle in the VERY DISTANT FUTURE. I need to be able to give her those things, and without proper management, who knows if I would?

What makes you happiest and saddest?
Happiest – Hanging out with my family, and my sweet dog Kona (Although I guess we all consider her family).
Saddest – Thinking of the future and what my daughter might have to deal with health wise or politically in this country and the World.
😦

What’s been your best vacation?
I’ve lived in Jackson Hole and Crested Butte… better than any vacation.

What’s your favorite book or movie?
Either “The Art of Racing in the Rain” or “Teewinot: A Year in the Teton Range”.
I haven’t read either.  I obviously need a kindle to remedy this situation.  <–subtle hint to the husband.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
A friend of mine and I got caught in a blizzard in the mountains of Colorado… spent the night out without shelter. She died of hypothermia. I was rescued, taken to a hospital where it was decided they would amputate my frostbitten toes. I signed out of the ER against medical advice, and took my still attached toes with me.
Whoa.

Back to diabetes.  What have you learned about yourself since being diagnosed?
If I actually try, I can achieve great things… but I do get quite lazy sometimes.
Don’t we all?

What was your scariest Diabetes moment? What is the scariest thing about living with diabetes?
Scariest D moment… during the blizzard, I was out in the forest for over 24 hours without insulin, or food. So when I was finally rescued and taken to a hospital (2 actually), I asked for insulin and some food. The nurse asked why, I told her I was Type 1. She scurried off and came back with the doctor that said that because of the D, he had scheduled an OR to remove my toes. I begged and pleaded to play the “Let’s wait and see game”. He said no. So I requested to leave.
GOOD FOR YOU!
Scariest thing about living with it is definitely the uncertainty of it. I can eat the same things day after day, same dosing, same activity level, but D does what it wants to do. I can go low (scary in itself), skyrocket to the stratosphere or just cruise a mellow sea of awesome. Just never know. I’m sure PWDs are some of the best problem solvers because of this.
And we’re really good at math.

What has been your best diabetes moment?
My best… or at least one of my favorites came days after DX, when my vision cleared up to a perfect 20/20 again. I was a 14 yr old boy who had worn glasses for a few years… I needed ( OK… wanted) a girlfriend and having glasses was not helping. Voila… no need for glasses again. I was less than thrilled when my vision changed back before I got a GF.

What is your personal diabetes motto/attitude towards it?
“Weebles wobble but they won’t fall down” is one. But lately it’s been more like “You sonuvabitch… nice try”
I like that!

Do you have a blog?
I started a blog this past spring, but baby, dog and über-busy wife take all my time. I actually go to my full-time job to rest.

How do you think being part of the diabetes online community has affected how you take care of yourself and your diabetes? How has it been beneficial/detrimental to you?
The greatest benefit of the DOC is getting real world advice on items such as CGMs or pumps. Also, it’s a great outlet for D related rants. I honestly can’t think of any negatives.
Except maybe when I talk about my special lady time on the interwebs?
Why oh why do you have to go and do things like that?? The trauma…
HAHAHAHAHAHA

Why do you follow my blog?  Any tips or suggestions or specific topics you’d like to see me write about?
Doug said something about trying to teach me how to drink better beer.  Something like that.

Other than insulin, how else do you keep your diabetes in control?
To manage I use a couple apps on my phone… “D Sharp” for BG logging and dosing based on carb count. The other is Sanofi’s “Go Meals” which I use to carb count and log my meals. I also walk a couple of miles daily, bike commute to work everyday regardless of weather (and being at 7200′ in Wyoming, I get lots of weather).
No wonder you go to work to rest!

Any tips/hints to other PWD?
Just stay on top of things the best you can. No one is perfect. I see all of the DOC superstars post about BGs in the 200s, 300s… but we can only take it in stride and keep swimming.
Or keep bolusing.

What would you say to someone who is newly diagnosed?
We’re here for ya. Ask as many questions as you need. There are no stupid questions… well there are a couple, but we have perfected the nod and smile.
*Nodding and Smiling*

What would you say to the general public about diabetes?
If you feel you must judge us, do it silently and to yourself. If you tell us we should have exercised more or whatever the newest Reverse Diabetes trick is… we might snap and get violent. You don’t want me to use a lancet on you… do you??
Ouch.

If you’re interested in being E-interviewed, email me at a1conceive@gmail.com or send me a DM on twitter!  I’d love to make this a regular thing!

High Risk OB Consultation

Doctors, doctors, and more doctors.  Sounds like I’m going to have to get used to this!

The hubs and I went to see my newest medical BFF, the high risk OB who will be holding my hand throughout future pregnancy.  On the urging of my endo, the husband accompanied me and I am glad he did.  He had an opportunity to get his questions answered and learned some medical stuff about Type 1s and baby building.

I had built up the appointment a lot in my head.  I expected a lecture about my weight (she said I’m “Only mildly overweight”, love her!), about my BG swings (“You swing, yes, but you stay in a good range, I’m pleased”), and I kind of thought there would be a physical.  (Luckily there wasn’t, yay!).

She answered all of our questions and gave us a bit of a “What to expect when I’m finally expecting” rundown.  A lot of info about why my insulin needs will increase and decrease, the risks of birth defects and miscarriage and one statistic that she provided that surprised me.  She said that our future child has a 1/10 chance of becoming Type 1.  However, everything I’ve read is that our child has a 1/100 chance due to me having him/her way after the age of 25.  I told her that is what I had seen on the interwebs and in some books so either she’s wrong or I need to learn how to use the google better.

Either way, it doesn’t change anything.  Yes, my pregnancy will be more risky.  Yes, our kid may have a higher risk of XYZ, but I am fully confident that with some discipline on my part, support from our friends and family, and careful guidance by an awesome medical team, we will have a healthy baby.

She also said that from 30-32 weeks on, I will be visiting her office twice per week(!!!) to measure the baby’s growth and progress and make sure everything is good.  Yikes.  Luckily I started a new job where I have a lot more flexibility (including Fridays off!) but this still was like “WHOA!”.  I wonder if they offer housing for their patients, seeing as I’m going to be living there?

That’s about it.  It was a good appointment and I’m glad we had it, however she didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know.  I would definitely recommend a consultation for those thinking about a pregnancy, if anything just to get you established as a patient of the practice so you aren’t scrambling to find a good OB once you get the positive pee stick.

So, now comes the fun part, right?

Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2013

Did you know that this week is Invisible Illness Week? I didn’t either until this blog post came across my reader. Thanks Rose!  I used to love filling out the old email surveys way back in the day, so why not? Here’s an easy chance to learn a little more about me and my diabetes. Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz at the end.

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

1. The illness I live with is: Type 1 Diabetes

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 1998, 4 days after my 18th birthday!

3. But I had symptoms since: Not long before diagnosis. Maybe a month before? I lost weight (Yay!) and was peeing a lot (Non-yay when there wasn’t a bathroom on my floor in the dorms!) but I didn’t think anything of it.

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Testing my blood sugar, injecting insulin/wearing a pump, and carrying all the crap ever around – wherever I go.

5. Most people assume: That diabetes is just having to test my BG and taking insulin before meals. I don’t think people realize how serious it is and how I am constantly aware of what my BG is/how my body feels/how my actions affect my numbers.
Or, that my foot is going to fall off.

6. The hardest part about mornings are: Giving up cereal. My BG hates it. No matter how I try to bolus. I miss you Cocoa Puffs.

7. My favorite medical TV show is: Grey’s Anatomy. I’m one of the 4 people who still watch it.

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My Dexcom CGM. Seriously my most favorite Diabetes device ever! I credit it for helping me get my a1c down to 6.8 and I always say I’ll give up my pump before I give up my Dexcom. It has given me a sense of security and much more awareness of my diabetes.

9. The hardest part about nights are: Deciding if I need a snack before bed. Seriously. Food is hard.

10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins: 2 Pills – Sythroid and Vitamin. I’m usually on Vytorin but my doc took me off of it in preparation for baby making. Also, continuous insulin via the pump.

11. Regarding alternative treatments I: Think they have their place. Although, with T1D there really aren’t any alternatives to insulin. But I think there is nothing wrong with seeking out a natural treatment for more common ailments like the common cold if that’s what you choose.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Invisible. I don’t like my diabetes being made a huge deal of and I imagine if I had a visible illness I would feel uncomfortable much more often.

13. Regarding working and career: I’ve been working in some capacity of another since before my diagnosis. I don’t think that Diabetes has affected my ability to get and keep a job. I’ve really only missed maybe 3 or 4 days of work because of wonky blood sugars. In 14 years, that’s not too bad. I do feel guilty sometimes for having to miss time for doctor’s appointments, but I supposed that is what PTO is for!

14. People would be surprised to know: We really don’t want to hear stories about how your best friend’s cat has diabetes, or that your uncle “died from diabetes” or that your former boss’s mother’s sister lost her foot because she was diabetic. Really. Not helpful.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: My reality isn’t really “new” but back in college, the toughest thing to accept was that this is permanent. At least for the next 5-7 years until there’s a cure, right?

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: I got nothing. Ask me again in a year or so and hopefully my answer will be “Have a baby.”

17. The commercials about my illness: Annoy me.

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Eating without thought. I miss not having to test, figure out my insulin, not having to wonder how this meal/snack will make me feel in the next 15 minutes, hour, 3 hours, etc.

19. It was really hard to have to give up: One piece bathing suits and low cut dresses. Female pumpers will understand.  Oh, and cereal.  And money.  Diabetes is expensive, yo.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Blogging. This is a really new hobby!

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Eat all the pasta without a worry in the world.

22. My illness has taught me: A lot of stuff.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: See number 14.

24. But I love it when people: Ask questions and actually listen when I explain what I live with, my pump and CGM, etc.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: Tomorrow will be a better day.

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Diabetes is a pain in the ass, there’s no sense sugar coating it (Pun intended). But it is manageable and even though it seems like you are being inundated with information right now, in just a short amount of time, all of this will become second nature. You can do this. And if you feel like you can’t there are tons of people both online and in real life who are happy to support you, answer your questions, or listen if you need to vent.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: That even though there are people around for support, it can be very isolating. That’s why I am so grateful for the DOC and IRL D-friends I have. They “get it”.

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: My college roommate took me to the hospital and sat with me for hours in the ER on what was a pretty useless ER visit (Something I could/should have handled on my own, another blog for another day). Also, my husband does nice things all the time – getting my meter for me, checking my CGM receiver when he thinks I’m not looking, grabbing me some juice, starting dinner when he’s not hungry yet so I can eat/won’t go low, etc. I’ll keep him.

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: My blog isn’t so invisible, so why not?

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Happy and hopeful that you weren’t terribly bored.

 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

He ate it anyway.

Got home from work today and the Hubs (who works from home) was still on a conference call.  He popped his head out of his office and told me he has another call until 6:30 and if I don’t want to wait until then to eat to go ahead and start dinner.  (He usually cooks.  He rocks.)  I make the executive decision to make a gourmet meal of brinner (bacon and cheddar omelets, hash browns, toast, and some more bacon).  Yum.

My sister called me and since it seems like I haven’t talked to her in forever (really, it’s been like 2 days, but that’s a super long time for us!) I took the call while attempting to make my awesome, I-can’t-believe-she-works-full-time-and-puts-meals-like-this-on-the-table, meal.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice that I was in the middle of an out of nowhere, Shelby-style low.  “This one hit her (me) fast”.  My trusty Dexcom was in my bag, on vibrate.  D’oops.

Hung up with the sis and check my BG in anticipation of pre-bolusing.  40.  YIKES.  In my low fog I thought it was a good idea to finish making dinner, which, of course, dumb idea.  I am not so good at cooking meals in which there are many components (casseroles are my specialty).  I can never get the timing down.  So my lame cooking skills in addition to my low BG made for tonight’s dinner prep to be more of an extreme sport than I anticipated.

So as you can imagine, dinner got nasty burnt, but my husband ate it anyway.  And also lectured me to turn off the stove and step out of the kitchen next time while I treat.  I think I will listen to him.