Why going to the endo is like math class

D E B U T S I N G L ERemember when you used to take tests or quizzes in math class and the teacher would tell you that “you have to show your work or else you’ll only receive half the credit”? First of all, I should be allowed to do math in my head, even though I get it, they wanted to cut the cheating out. Secondly, I hated getting the answer right but the “steps in getting to the answer” wrong. Isn’t there more than one way?

Yesterday, I had a visit with my endocrinologist who I hadn’t seen in a year. This was due to being laid off my job a year ago and finding health insurance again. Going to see a world-renowned endo is pricey! Along with getting to see all my doctors again (yay!), I get my supplies, insulin and everything else I need to get my a1c back down (it was a 7.9). It’s not terrible, but I was doing much better this time last year. I actually thought it was going to be higher!

With that said, I took the time to tell my doctor about the issues I’ve been faced with and really, nothing has changed since the last time I was there– besides the fact that I wasn’t checking myself enough due to a shortage of supply. I feel like most of the time, it doesn’t matter if you have diabetes or not, doctor’s advice is usually the same: Do more exercise, lose more weight, you’re doing fine, at least you’re alive. We’ve all heard it.

This time though, I was scolded about not wearing my CGMS, which I admit slipped to the wayside, again due to shortage of supply. But, not to fear! I’m back on it.

As I was sitting there with the doc, reviewing the printout of history from my pump, what I call my diary because, well, they know EVERYTHING just from looking at a few numbers on paper… and graphs, and charts, and totals, I saw the scatter of numbers throughout the pages. Most notably were the days where I checked only once or not at all.

**[If you know anything about diabetes and this isn’t the first time you’ve heard of this situation, you know how important it is to check yourself. I’ve written about it here. The doctor refers to not checking as the “dangerous road.”]**

This is when the guilt sets in. There are days when you wake up and you just don’t want to deal, so, putting your health at risk, you don’t. It’s not to say that it is the right thing to do, but it happens. For those who don’t have diabetes, let me just say, it gets exhausting. Always thinking about what you’re eating, the amount of sugar, carbs, counting, shots, boluses, double checking how you feel, checking blood sugar, making sure you’re on top of your life! Numbers– all numbers, all the time. So even though it sounded like a good idea to skip on checking out where you were and how you were doing in terms of blood sugar levels, it’s not in the long run and you look like a bad student at the doctor’s office.

At this point, I’m too old to shout out, “But my a1c was a 7.9! That’s still pretty good!” But that’s how I felt. It was a sigh of relief, it was a way to loosen the hook I’d always be on with my diabetes. But you know what? I didn’t show my work.

When the doctor downloads all the information that my purple insulin pump stores in its computer system, he sees what’s going on like when I drop and when I’m too high and all that jazz– my personal life and what my insides are doing. The graphs and charts are only possible with data, but if I’m not checking myself or wearing my CGMS there is no data. The data here is the long division work I did in my head and didn’t show on paper. The a1c result is the answer that I got kinda right. The only reason it isn’t in the “correct” spectrum is because I didn’t show my work, thus slipping up in the end.

Because I didn’t do the work, my doctor couldn’t tell me how to fix it. As much as this is about pricking your finger and sampling some blood, NOT doing actual facts and figures in your head, you’d think it’d be easier, right? Well, besides my need to ration supplies, it’s easy to forget to check. I’m running to work, I’m busy at work, I’m running home, I’m running around, living life, doing things and then, “Oh, shit! I have to check myself!” Does that not happen to you? It happens to me all the time, which is why the CGMS is good for me. It’s stuck there and that’s it. It tells me when to check and I’m good. For the most part. Technology has been known to fail.

So based off of what he knew for sure, he changed my basal rate, changed my carb ratio and sent me on my way for blood tests.

Usually, when I leave the doctor’s office, I’m known to dwell too long on the whole ordeal. I cry most of the time as a release of energy, anxiety and stress that living with diabetes brings about. I’m reminded of everything I have to do to not die a slow and miserable death, and at the same time, I swear that I’m going to change. The difference this time was that I had company and I had to explain things. He told me that I wasn’t perfect, that I’m human and that he was going to support my habits that I intended to build on. I didn’t cry but instead I accepted the fact that I do what I can and sometimes, things don’t just go the way you want them to.

Life is a tumultuous rollercoaster on its own. Sprinkling in some much needed care adds a little anxiety, but more, it adds the motivation needed to feel better and more in control. In the end, I’ve realized that in order to take control of my diabetes, I’m going to have to do the work and hopefully the more corrections I make on my process, the better my results will be.

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My Diabetes Advocacy

I reread an interview I did a few years ago during National Diabetes Awareness Month aka November. Although I felt that it could have been a bit more concise and articulate, it made me think about what I said and how I said it. If you take a look at it, I go into a lot of specifics and thought processes of my own. Incidentally, it made me think about my diabetes advocacy and quite frankly, where it went.

Yeah, I’m a busy person. I have about 10 jobs and most of the time my friends think I have no time for them, but letting my advocacy slip is like letting my health go. I feel like it goes hand-in-hand. One cannot exist without the other. And I started to wonder, was I burning out again without knowing it?

It’s possible to avoid your health by making yourself too busy. People do it all the time. They’re too busy to work out, too consumed by other things to eat better or monitor their lifestyle. Could I be doing the same thing when it came to taking care of myself and just hadn’t realized it? Was I using my work and my extracurricular activities to bury the fact that I wanted to forget I had diabetes… again?

Truth be told, I haven’t had insurance since I was laid off my last full-time job. I just started a new position where I’ll have it again, but knowing there were inhibitors to caring for myself made me almost wish I didn’t have diabetes. I still checked myself and worked out and ate all right, but the idea of having to re-order pump supplies and having to go to the clinic instead of my world-renowned endocrinologist scared me. I was in this position again for wanting to work for myself and be on my own a bit. I was also unaware of this new insurance marketplace but at the same time was set on the fact that I would find a job when I needed it, which I did.

However, when it came to my presence on social media and out in the public sphere, I found that I was lacking. I didn’t blog very much. My posts about #BlueFridays had gone to shit and my @Kikisbetes Twitter feed wasn’t very active. Hell, my profile picture on the account doesn’t even look like me anymore. But now as I reflect on the past six months, I realize that I haven’t let my advocacy die. My social media advocacy, might have been impaired for a while, but not my roots for the work I was actually doing. It just goes to show the world we live in. More importantly, the world I live in– if you’re not on social, you don’t exist.

During November 2015 I made an offer to a nonprofit from the Brighton Park neighborhood here in Chicago to speak to groups about diabetes for free. I thought, “Why not get out there, meet people in the community and spread some diabetes awareness?” I wasn’t working regular hours and had time during the day to dedicate to hear myself talk about something I was a supposed expert in. Not an expert– just blessed by autoimmunity.

Needless to say, they took me up on the offer. I was able to speak to a group of mentors who worked with parents and their children. I was there to let them know about diabetes awareness, symptoms and preventative measures. A few months later, I spoke to a group of teen moms about what to look out for in their little ones, the importance of taking care of themselves while pregnant and why nutrition is of utmost importance to learn and be aware of.

The flame burns eternally inside me to work and advocate for those who may have or have diabetes, including myself. It’s in my head all the time and every chance I get, I talk about what I know, what I’ve learned, what I can do better and how we can help others educate themselves on having this disease (or disorder, in my eyes, if you’re Type 2).  Learning that others have issues makes me want to work harder for them and myself, making sure that I don’t let my health slip.

In the end, I’m still here. I may not take a picture of myself for #BlueFridays and may only sporadically Tweet about my drops and low blood sugar levels, but know that I’m doing whatever it is that I can to help those around me in their battles with diabetes. My diabetes advocacy will never die.

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The Drop

Earlier tonight, after a day of working out and hanging out with my family, I came home to relax and as I awoke from a nap, I realized that my blood sugar was rapidly dropping. It’s like feeling that someone has altered your equilibrium.

You’re weak, yet you can walk. You’re unfocused, yet you know what you have to do. You think you’re relatively low when you feel the beads of perspiration emerge from your pores, yet you don’t really know how low you are until you see the number.

Tonight, my number was a 33. Yeah, that’s totally not normal. In recent days, I’ve dropped to 44 and 45. I know, I know I have to watch it. Scottie Pippen’s number is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Sorry for the cliche statement.

So as anyone who can express their thoughts with words, I wrote a bit directly on my Facebook page using my phone while laying on my bed, t-shirt still soaked with the sweat from the drop, feeling that at 9:30 p.m. I was going to go to bed just to wake up refreshed and start over again tomorrow. However, I started feeling better, washed the dishes and here I am, making a long overdue blog post out of the Facebook post that is too long for anyone in their right mind to read. It’s too long for social media, but hey, that was my outlet.

With that being said, here it is. The Facebook post no one should have had to endure without clicking on a link to my blog. Thanks and have a good night.

You never realize how much you take your body for granted until its use is challenged. For people with diabetes, the thought is always in the back of your mind.

You feel every time your blood sugar goes up, each time it goes down and always have the desire to feel the best you can. You’ll give up favorite foods, sacrifice sleep and succumb to stabbing your fingers just to keep your body in check.

You’ll never really have a peace of mind, no matter how many devices you have attached to your torso. However, you’ll find it pretty cool to make light of the situation by calling yourself a cyborg and knowing that it really is true.

As someone with type 1 diabetes, your blood glucose does drop to the point of fear. Knowing that you might black out before the orange juice hits your lips; feeling bullets of sweat drip down your face, your back; hyperventilating even as you shove glucose-increasing food in your mouth and praying that the feelings stop as quickly as they came. They usually never do.

The situation quite literally knocks you out. Your body feels like a rung out towel. You look as though you did an hour of cardio, hair and shirt wet, leaving you feeling cold, even in the middle of summer. You want to sleep, giving your body time to bounce back from the low that might have killed you, had you not felt it. Tunnel vision, lack of leg function and weakness is not foreign in these situations, making it scary to live alone; making it scary just to think about not being able to function. Everything you take for granted is questioned.

As you level out, things slowly get back to normal. But you’re impacted. You’ll never forget the feeling. It makes you want better. Makes you hate the disease you didn’t ask for. Makes you wish you had a normal body. And in the end, you know you’ll never have what you want but ultimately, the education, experiences and lessons learned have made you everything you are and everything you’ll ever be.

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Hope? Is that the right word?

As much as we all want to believe there will be a cure for diabetes, especially Type 1, in our lifetime isn’t it still a reach?

Happy New Year to you, too.

For as long as I can remember, there has been plenty of talk regarding a cure, whether that was in the form of an artificial pancreas (which would help to manage diabetes as normally as possible) or the use of stem cell research to find a way to replenish the dead beta cells. A cure would be great but at this point, the fact that we all use insulin pumps (or something that’s technologically advanced) for insulin therapy and continuous glucose monitoring systems, it seems that an artificial pancreas would be much more plausible in our lifetime. A lot of the time, we know the cure isn’t coming, so we settle for the best that we can get.

But is it really settling? I guess that’s the most that we can do as people living with an autoimmune disease. I mean, had it been back in the 1800’s we all would have been dead by now. It’s not a morbid thought as much as it’s the truth. We are attempting to adhere to every single bit of technology so that our life is “normal,” and we don’t die from the inability to care for ourselves.

The more and more you hear about advancements in research, the more and more I ask, “So when are the trials happening?” and “When do we get to try some of this good stuff?” We’re like junkies looking for the next taste of hope in the form of a medical journal article. I even want to have all those different tests done to make sure that I do really have diabetes and not some crazy, unexplainable gene mutation that can be cured by taking a pill.

Now they tell us that they’ve successfully taken adult skin cells and converted them to fully functional pancreatic cells. What? You mean, the answer was in our skin all along? And can you actually replenish cells that have been that far gone from your pancreas? I just have a million and one questions and a lot of the times, no one can answer them or clarify them for me. You know why? Because that research is usually done on rats and nothing or nobody else.

I wonder if it’s an issue with funding or the fact that they realize this is impossible in humans. At this rate we’re going to be taken over by rodents because those garbage eating animals are all going to be cured of their diabetes. I’m wondering about the 370 million people worldwide who suffer from diabetes and more, those who are dying every day from diabetes complications. What about them? Why hasn’t anyone stepped up to actually find an answer to the problem?

I digress. This is a medical breakthrough. They always all are. My question is, when do we actually get to see how and if it can impact humans? Will it ever get to that point? Does this really actually mean anything for all of us who live every day with diabetes?

I guess we’ll just have to wait to find out.

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Filed under Diabetes, Health, Insulin, Research, technology, Treatments

Is That A Pager? And other random things that make me go… hmmm….

It happens at least once a week, more when I’m around people and have to pull out the pump from my pocket. “Is that a pager?” Now, after being asked for like the 500th time, I have some alternate answers to that question.

“Yes, yes it is. Problem?”

“I’m a doctor.”

“It’s actually a morphine dispenser. Want some?”

I can go on and on as to what I tell them and what they ask me. Sometimes they ask if it’s an iPod or something. Yes, it has internal surround sound. Beat that.

There are other things that we people with diabetes use that typically other people want to use just so that they know what’s going on in their bodies, like a CGMS. “Really?” I thought as I read a comment on my Instagrammed CGMS photo from the gym. “I need one of those for my workouts!” it read.

Here I am, not wanting to use the damn thing because of pain and comfort issues, and this guy wants to use it because he’s a workout freak. Can’t they make something like that for the general public? Make it more painful while you’re at it.

The fact that we live in a data driven society makes me weak with an overwhelming nausea. Fitbits, pedometers, heart monitors, work out apps, calorie counters, spread sheets, all that good stuff that people look at and collect is just too much. The first time the doctor took my pump and downloaded all the information it had stored, I was going to throw up. It was like he was reading my diary.

He knew when I took it off, when I didn’t check, could assume why I didn’t check and why I did (and he was right), could tell me when I ate, how I slept and even knew my deepest, darkest secret! (Just kidding on that one, but they can also see when you take it off during “intimate times.”)

They gave me the print outs of all the information that they downloaded off the tiny purple MiniMed and I was overwhelmed, confused and wanted to faint. Did I really have to know about all the numbers and trends and graphs and data points in order to know I felt good? Did I have to know all of that so that I could check my blood sugar and make a smart decision on how much insulin I was going to take? Normal people don’t even know their blood sugar levels on an hourly basis, yet we were getting it every five minutes. Oh, how jealous must those data nerds be right now?!

I find it interesting that diabetes is such an epidemic that everyone is willing to test you on and question (“You know, I heard that if you…”) yet those same people who are ready to judge really have no idea what we go through or what life is like. When you talk about the pain, the discomfort, the repercussions of the sickness, most people say, “I’d never be able to do that.” Yes you would, modie fodie, because you want to live, breathe, dance, survive. When your life is on the line, you’ll do as much as you can to keep it.

After feeling humiliated and naked after they checked out my data points, I decided that I’d have to be really good and not try to mask things. When you have diabetes, your numbers tell it all. It’s like that idea that you can’t hide what you eat because it shows on your body. I can’t hide what I’m doing to myself because it shows on the CGMs. Caught! Red handed!

Sometimes it’s not about the management of the actual disease as much as it’s about the conditioning to keep things on track. It becomes clock work after a while. I wake up in the morning and grab my machine on my way to the bathroom to wash up. I test and brush my teeth, then go along my merry way. That’s my morning, before I make a smoothie, work out and clean something.

Once you do something for 20 days straight, it becomes a habit. How about if you do it for 20 years straight? I think I’ve skipped checking a few days out of those years, quite honestly.

Now I want to know– if you have diabetes, what situations or things have you found yourself in that make you go “Hmmm…”? Tell me! I want to know! 

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Filed under Culture, Diabetes, Health

Being Healthy Isn’t Profitable

It’s been another long while since I’ve written, but I feel that it’s time to do so again. The time seemed right, so here I am.

A few months ago, I started thinking about how much money I spend on diabetic supplies a year. It’s well into the thousands and I thought to myself, “Wow, those girls at work don’t have to worry about this. They can save or spend that money on things.” I was a tad bit jealous, not only because I’m an Aries, but because well, they technically took home more of their money than I did. Mine went to life support.

Then, I went to see my doctor. Because I have high cholesterol and it runs in my family, my doctor has been talking about a pill. “No,” I say every time shaking my head side to side. “I’d rather try to lower it naturally than to take any medication.” See, the way I look at it, insulin is not medicine. Insulin is a necessary hormone needed to live. Without the hormone we die.

I don’t want to take medicine. It was a decision I made when I realized how much of in control I could be of my diabetes and I decided to take full ownership of my body. But how much more would I have had to pay every month for cholesterol medication?

If my body didn’t crazily decide that insulin was bad for it, I would still be making it myself. If it wasn’t for that, I’d be healthy, paying for maybe aspirin or cough syrup once in a great while as opposed to steadily paying about $300 a month for the rest of my life. It’s slightly jarring if you think about it.

Thousands of dollars for each person that  has Type 1 diabetes in this country. That’s millions in the pockets of these pharma companies who just so happen to be in charge of creating the “special serum” that keeps us alive. We live at the mercy of these companies! And this is just ONE of the many chronic illnesses that exist.

From cancer treatments to thyroid medications, if you’re sick, you got to pay. It’s going to keep you alive and well. Wouldn’t you pay to keep yourself alive, defying the entire theory of “Survival of the Fittest”? How much is your life worth?

The more you think about it, I don’t know if it necessarily gets depressing, but the truth of it all makes it dreary. And once again, I’m consumed with numbers and the handling of my life.

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Does diabetes really disable me?

Through work, we are voluntarily asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding disabilities– making sure they hit quotas, I suppose, on supporting the people with disabilities in this world. I voluntarily answered the questionnaire, like usual, not afraid of any question that should come up, especially because I don’t think of myself as having a disability.

As I reviewed the questions, I saw it on the list: Diabetes. All of a sudden, a trigger went off in my head and I almost closed the questionnaire because I didn’t want to admit that I had a disability. Would anyone?

In the end, I didn’t close it and I ended up finishing it, however there was a feeling of anger and resentment that went through me. I thought, I’m never going to be like everyone else. I’ve come to this realization many times in my life– it wasn’t something new to me or to anyone. In fact, I’ve written about how diabetes made me different multiple times and I wasn’t ashamed of it.

But now, work knew. The people who employed me and those above them now all knew that I had diabetes. Again, this is not something that I’m ashamed about, however it is something that I’m weary of especially because to those who don’t know me, I’m another person with diabetes– enter all of the stereotypes that screw with the mindset of those who are ignorant to the disease.

Was it really a disability? A few hours later that night, I told one of my best friends about the questionnaire. “You don’t have a disability!” he said to me, so confidently. I smiled because I was grateful to him and to all of my friends who feel the same way.

It’s not a disability simply because I don’t treat it like one. I technically have not been disabled from doing anything in my life. Besides wanting to maybe be in the peace corp or a fighter pilot (because I mean, who doesn’t want to do something like that in their life?), I’ve done everything that I’ve ever wanted to do. Sure, a vital organ in my body doesn’t really work the way it should and I’m part cyborg because of the pump that I wear on my hip, but in no way was that a disability.

I take care of myself as best as I can. Sometimes that does slip from me because of my busy lifestyle and all the different things I get myself into. At times, I don’t check myself as frequently as I should, but I always keep my pump on. That’s one thing that I can’t not do; I can’t not take insulin. It’s not like taking aspirin or a pill of some sort. It’s not a medication that I’m taking to help me live. It’s a hormone that I NEED to live.

The kicker here, is that diabetes can become a disability. If I let it slip enough, I can go blind, lose a limb, lose my life. This is why I continue to go to the doctor so that I can stay on top of my issues and making sure that I can prevent any harm that may come my way.

It’s important to track and important to know what’s going on in my body, since it’s not something that I can take advantage of and not think about. I was told to go back to the continuous glucose monitoring system to help better control myself and I have. There are dietary restrictions that I’m putting on myself just out of mere knowledge and understanding that certain foods don’t cooperate with me. I have to do these extra things so that diabetes NEVER becomes a disability.

There may be sacrifices, but I don’t see them that way. I see them as ways to live a better and longer life. If not eating rice and bananas means I get to stay here and enjoy life for a few more years– then so be it. Here I’ll stay.

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Filed under Complications, Diabetes, Health, Personal

Shameless About My Spots

This past year has brought a lot on me. Life doesn’t get any easier as you get older, you just get better at it. In the past few years, I’ve decided to take my health into my own hands and do the best I can with my body and what I put into it as well as how I treat it.

Most recently, I’ve decided not to be ashamed of my vitiligo. I decided to tell people that I had it and face the fact that no, it’s not a makeup malfunction– it’s a skin discoloration disease that again, I cannot control. Seems to be the story of my life.

It’s one thing to get sick due to some cause of your own and a completely different thing when you realize that you did nothing wrong to deserve what comes at you. And that the fact that you are “sick” is because your body decided to turn on you and kill its own cells. Lovely isn’t it?

I have become more comfortable in my own skin– like, really. There are days, like today, I go out without makeup because I didn’t feel like I needed it. It’s not to say that people don’t stare at me, because they do. Or I see them trying to look me straight in the eye instead of at my “spots” because they feel like somehow it’ll be offensive or because they’re uncomfortable. Mostly, they don’t look because it makes them uncomfortable and surprisingly I’m OK with that because it’s not my insecurities, it’s theirs.

I wonder what people would say if they really spoke their mind. You know, like those people who say, I could never give myself shots or check my blood sugar all the time– I don’t know how you do it. Well, you do it because you have to. I wonder how many people would say to me, “I don’t know what I’d do if I suddenly lost pigment in my skin and had to face the world as someone with two different colors on my skin.”

I wonder how many people would actually be ashamed. I mean, we knew that Michael Jackson was, since he sped up the whiteness and bleached his skin to level himself out– color wise. Apparently, Sammy Sosa has the same issue. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to be all white– translucent, mainly. I look at my brown skin and I love it because I always have. I always loved being tan and dark during the summer. Now, I look and still see my tan skin, but also see my spots– on my knuckles, on my feet, on my face, dots on my shoulders– and it doesn’t scare me. I don’t mind it anymore because that’s just what my body decided to do.

If anything, I’ve realized that there is a reason for everything. I shouldn’t fight it, especially because in the end, it’ll all turn out all right. One color or two, my soul is still complete and even more accepting and well-rounded than before. .

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#FML: That moment at the airport when you realize you left your insulin in the hotel fridge

Greetings!

Well, this is my week back from my tour of Spain. My family and I went in celebration of my 30th birthday. The big 3-0! Yeah, don’t ask me how I feel about that yet.

We toured the Spanish cities– Madrid, Sevilla, Granada, Barcelona– and experienced the life of the Spanish, our conquistadores. Regardless, our trip during Semana Santa and were extremely pleased with the entire experience. If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or we’re friends on Facebook, you’ve seen my photos over these past few weeks. Take a look.

My return to Granada was awesome. I remembered  everything as if I was there two years ago, not 10. We sat at the same restaurants we sat at, we drank the same beer I did and were able to hike up the mountain sides. My mom actually made it up to the Mirador de San Nicolas! I was extremely proud of her.

I didn’t want to leave, but alas, after three nights there, we were off to Barcelona to end our trip after another three nights there. We were flying up to Barcelona and had to leave extremely early in the morning. My sister and I packed our things together the night before, took showers, and were set to go. We woke up at 6am, had breakfast at 7am and were out the door and in the cab to the airport by 8.

Everything thus far was going smoothly and we were having a great time.

[If you’re Catholic, you’ll understand the transition.]

It wasn’t until we were in line to check our bags that I realized I had forgotten my three bottles of insulin in the hotel fridge. CRAP! And as I got that knowing look from my mother, and heard my dad ask how I could forget something so important, my stomach dropped. “I can buy it,” I told my mom. “When we get to Barcelona, I can go to the pharmacy.”

wpid-imag1727_1.jpgIt didn’t matter how many times I told myself it was going to be fine, I still felt so guilty. How did I forget it? Was it just a slip of the fact from my memory? Was everything else just too important for me to remember to take the insulin?

Regardless, as soon as I got through security, I told the TSA agent that I had forgotten my insulin at the hotel and if there was any way to call and see what we could arrange to get it back. The Guardia Civil, or the cops, took my mom and I back to the office where they called the hotel for us. We told them what happened and they asked if I could get a later flight or if I could wait to have the insulin by Tuesday.

The officer was reassuring, however, once we got off the phone and told them we would call them back to make arrangements. “She can go to the pharmacy and buy the insulin, that’s not a problem. If they need a prescription, you can go to the ER at the hospital and they’ll write it out for you,” he explained.

I still couldn’t get the thought out of my head; how could I be so stupid? We left and upon arriving in Barcelona, I went to the pharmacy where I could purchase rapid acting insulin pens for $54. When I got back to the hotel, my mother was relieved as were the hotel staff who heard about this accident.

I was saved. I kind of had to McGyver it still. I had a bit of insulin left in my pump (more than 24 hours worth). So what I did was slowed down the basal, which I had to do anyway after all the walking we were doing. I had woken up twice already from blood glucose in the 40s. Any time I would eat anything, I would inject it with the pens I bought.

My mother arranged to have the forgotten bottles sent to us in Barcelona. There were three, so I wasn’t going to leave them behind as wasted medication. And, if you don’t already know, this all worked out.

Waking up on Wednesday, I got a text from my mom saying that they just delivered the insulin and that they had it. Within two hours, I was low on insulin and everything was perfectly timed.

As much as I’d love to fly out the door without thinking about it, this reminded me that I had to– even on vacation. This isn’t the first time I forget something important, but the first time forgetting on an important trip and so much of it, was a first.

After having all the insulin, I wrote a note to myself to remember the insulin in the fridge, and also on my phone as did my sister. We were covered. What suggestions do you have? Has this ever happened to you?

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Filed under Diabetes, Family, Health, Insulin, Travel

When Your Child Is Diagnosed With Diabetes…

Two of the most important people in any child’s life are parents. No one is going to dispute me on this, I hope. We can also add any parental figures to this as well.

They are your initial caretakers, guides, protectors, allies, sponsors—they are your world and you are theirs. They pick you up when you fall, they tell you that everything is going to be OK and they know that you’ll make it past your first bike crash, burn and flu.

Until something happens that can’t be reversed. This is more than a cold that will pass or a fever that will break. This is something that will forever change the way their child will look at the world and the way that they will consider their child’s needs. This will mean excellent health insurance and health care. This will mean a number of checkups and monitoring of daily activities, proper meals and emergency kits, always hoping for the best of days yet knowing that every day is different.

It will mean daily shots, finger pricks, carb counting, understanding what the child is going through and what’s more is the challenge when the child is too young to speak and cannot relay how he or she is feeling. Keeping track, finding patterns, relaying information to not only the doctors but also trying to explain what’s going on to the child, while worrying about everything else that comes with a family is trying and exhausting.

This is what happens when your child is diagnosed with diabetes. The world changes. Not only does the diagnosed child have to learn to manage the disease, so do the parents of that child. The meaning of “it takes a village to raise a child” becomes real and suddenly the life of the child is literally in their parents’ hands.

I was diagnosed at seven years old with Type 1 diabetes. I followed directions from my parents, found it funny when I would start to shake from hypoglycemia and made lowering my blood sugar a game to play every day. I could talk and could tell my mother how I felt. I also know that my mother was very sad at the time. I didn’t understand why, only because I didn’t understand what having diabetes really meant.

As I got older, my mother helped me to understand different aspects to my body and what happened to my pancreas but she could only guess due to the fact that it wasn’t happening in her body but in mine. At the age of 18, she told me to start going to the doctor by myself. From watching the way she talked and trusted in doctors of all kinds, I learned to do the same and ask questions about the tests and numbers they were constantly doing.

Sometimes I find myself thinking about myself and my future children—will they develop diabetes, too? Along with that, will they be born with it and diagnosed at months old as opposed to the way I was diagnosed? What would I do if that was the case?

I can’t imagine what my mother was going through. I don’t understand the feeling of having something “go wrong” in your child that you have to figure out and learn about and then manage. However, I have given both of my parents the props to do what they did and the help to guide me in the right direction. I give all parents a big congratulation for getting through any type of disease with their child.

I don’t know how I would be or what I would be doing without the help I received from my parents. They’re the ones who laid it all out for me and understood that I wasn’t going to let this get in my way and that all they needed was to be there to support me through it all.

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Filed under Culture, Diabetes, Family