Category Archives: History

From ‘What Do I Do?’ to ‘How Do I Handle?’

Don’t know if you’ve ever had to deal with the initial pity party. You know, when you say, “I have diabetes,” and then the person says, “Oh, I’m so sorry!” When they proceed to ask the details that go as deep as “How long have you had it?” and you say, “Oh for about 21 years now,” they suddenly change their mind about you.

Look, I’ve been around it all my life, have had to deal with shots and not being able to eat certain things. I’ve had high blood sugars and low blood sugars, have cried because of low blood sugar, have drank like a camel because of high blood sugar and I’m just fine. I don’t need your pity party or the fact that you’re sorry for me.

I got a question, though, one time about coping. How did I cope? I don’t know if I ever fully felt a burden enough to cope. I just did because that’s what I was told and then learned how to do. There was a certain age where I learned more and was educated about my diabetes but along with that I feel that I’m still trying to figure out how to handle this thing I have. This issue that I live with.

I’ve been using the pump for about three years, and it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve had more problems with it. Whether it’s bent cannulas or dead spots on my own body that no longer absorb insulin, there are problems and with that, figuring out how to manage, cope and grow with it. To say the least, it’s a pain in the ass.

But there’s nothing like getting blamed for the mishaps. A bent cannula and all of a sudden you get asked, why didn’t you know? Maybe YOU did something wrong. How much good is that thing if you don’t even know if it’s working?

Trust me! Don’t you think I listen to those thoughts in my head every day and I’m trying to figure out the same thing plus trying to figure out how to get myself to feel like a normal person?!

There are times when it’s a burden and there are times when everything is OK and sometimes it feels like it will be a never-ending roller coaster of a life that you just have to ride sometimes. It’s a pain in the major butt, to tell you the truth.

Someone else asked if I used humor in my blogs. I don’t know if I use humor, per say, but I know that blogging gets me feeling like I’m thinking things out and it keeps me sane. Do I laugh, sure. But I also feel like the truth is harsh and ugly. I try not to think about how I feel but rather, I feel my logic take over and what I know about my body to help me fix whatever problem I have. People run to doctors too often whereas I feel that the doctors have taught me things in order to take care of myself. I’ve paid attention.

Having diabetes is an ever-changing and growing process and I learn every time my body goes through a tumultuous episode. It happens to all of us.

But when we’re literally knocked down, you must have the mental power to bring yourself back up and keep going. You really have no other choice.

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Filed under Diabetes, Health, History, Insulin, Personal, Stories

Predicting the Drop

7752_10102548597861270_169164729_nI walked into Stroger Hospital today for a pump clinic meeting. Interestingly enough, I knew  a few people sitting in the room. The diabetic educator was one. The other was a representative from Medtronic, the company that manufactures my insulin pump and supplies. He taught me how to use my CGMS when I first got it. Then there were two endocrinologists whom I hadn’t met before. All were there for me.

They requested my purple Minimed and downloaded all of my data, enough to build a pretty solid profile of what kind of person with diabetes I am. It was intimidating, to say the least. On a giant screen before me lay all of my data: They knew when I took my pump off, when I ate, when I checked my blood sugar, when I had chaos in my life. They knew more about me than the people I talk to every day. I couldn’t hide anything from them, not that I wanted to.

They saw the chaos that I went through earlier this week, when three cannulas bent on me. It was horrendous. The thing about bent cannulas, which are basically mini catheters that deliver insulin under the skin, is that you don’t know their bent until your blood sugar is running in the 400s and no matter how many units you deliver it doesn’t drop. Then after checking everything twice over, the last resort is to pull out the infusion site to see if there was anything wrong there.

296129_10102548024375540_173358406_nCan you imagine doing that three times in a row? For two days, I felt like the sugar in my blood stream had turned to syrup and I was moving slower than a sloth. It didn’t stop me though. I still worked and when I lost all faith in technology, I decided to resort to shots. I’d never been so happy to use a syringe. Sanctification!

Anyway, I told them that story this morning and they saw it. So, we’re going to disregard that, they all concluded. After asking me to remember what happened earlier this week, what I ate and telling me to dive into technology, they had made subtle changes to my pump settings and told me to continue to track everything.

I had never been through a meeting like that, where I had, not one but four different people looking, examining and figuring out how I manage my diabetes. I had never done this before in my life. It seemed like a lot of work, but nonetheless, that’s what it’s there for– to know how you work and how your body works even better by just testing your blood sugar. Amazing.

Technology had once again piqued my interest. Regardless of the fact that I have this sensor on and that I have the pump on almost 24 hours a day, I had never thought about the wealth of data and collection of knowledge that this small thing was absorbing every minute of the day. It was a sponge and it told me more than my pancreas ever could.

With what they said, I would be able to predict low blood glucose, high blood glucose and in the end curve the spikes in blood sugar that make us feel so terrible. Isn’t that what we all want? To just feel good and feel “normal”?

Overall, the conversation was open and pleasant. I’ll be able to go back in September and hopefully this tracking system won’t be so overwhelming.

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Filed under Diabetes, Doctors, History, Hospitals, Treatments

If I wasn’t diabetic…

If I wasn’t diabetic (Type 1, that is), I would probably weigh about 300 pounds. I’m not kidding.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would probably love eating chocolate a lot more than I do now. Right now, I just think about it a lot, but don’t eat it. So it goes for many, many other foods.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would probably not even THINK about working out. Actually, maybe I would.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about waking up with the shakes in the middle of the night.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t know what wanting to pass out felt like.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would know much less about how my body works.

If I wasn’t diabetic, Type 1, I’d probably be Type 2 by now.

If I wasn’t diabetic, a part of me thinks I’d work out a lot more and skip out on a few meals without worrying about repercussions. But I can always do that now, right?

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about having a job with health insurance.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have won my boyfriend over. He says that he liked me more because of the control and knowledge I had about the disorder my body carries. I wouldn’t be different if I wasn’t diabetic.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would have chosen to travel the world instead of staying in one place.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would have joined something like the Peace Corps, if not the Peace Corps.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about getting yelled at by my doctors.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t always be lectured by my doctor.

If I wasn’t diabetic, my life would not be run by numbers.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have knowledge about technology, medicine, health or a variety of other topics that are affecting people all around me all the time.

If I wasn’t diabetic, Kikisbetes.com wouldn’t exist, nor would @kikisbetes.

If I wasn’t diabetic, learning about new exercise moves would not be a priority.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to always count carbs.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would be eating more tortillas.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t exactly worry about how much grasa actually went into my food.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would be eating a lot more pan dulce, drinking Jarritos, scarfing down chicharrones and drinking atole every weekend.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t find a need to inform people of the health issues that may hinder them in the future.

If I wasn’t diabetic, there would be no looking up carbs in beer and worrying about “how to drink.”

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to wear the Medic Alert bracelet that you see in the photo above.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about my process of having children.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about seeing six to seven different doctors in a year.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about medical bills, keeping up on my supplies for medication and making sure to see the doctor every three months.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about losing my feet or my sight.

If I wasn’t diabetic, my motivation would be writing and writing only.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t be one of the five percent of people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t completely collapse every time I get a simple cold.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have as many writing opportunities as I do now.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would be a little more normal.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t always have to convince myself that diabetes isn’t a limitation.

If I wasn’t diabetic, though, I don’t think I would be me. All of these little things that have shaped me over the years have kept me sane, healthy and alive. Every day, diabetes is being less of a limitation for me. I know there are ways to do all the things I’ve ever wanted to do and just like the next person who doesn’t have diabetes, I’m being limited by much more than just having this disease.

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Filed under Culture, Diabetes, Health, History, Personal, Stories

For Diabetics: Be Good To Your Dogs

My mom loves the family dog. He actually started off as a stray on the street and my aunt who’s a Chicago Police officer found him as a puppy and asked if we wanted him. My parents had always told me no, but when I was heading off to college, thought the dog would be a perfect replacement for me and kept him as a distraction for my sister.

Mr. Benjamin Brown-Rodriguez

She named him Benji and he was brown. I added on. His full name? Mr. Benjamin Brown-Rodriguez. He was the cutest little thing and he peed everywhere and tore everything else up. We didn’t know how old he was, so typically we celebrate his birthday every fourth of July. We welcomed him into our home in September about six years ago.

Like I said, my mother loves him. You can tell. He’s fat. He’s also spoken to like a child, although he’s technically 42 in dog years and he listens like a little human. He’s part of the family as any other dog would be after that amount of time, hanging around and eating everything you don’t want.

When we first got him, my parents felt that he should eat like a human too. About three times a day. When he started getting too big for himself– or better yet, when he started being able to sit on his butt like a human, the doctor said no more. “You can’t keep feeding him. You have to walk him. He won’t be able to walk correctly if he gets any fatter.”

Like any other Latino family, my mother says, “Awww, he’s not fat!” when in reality, he’s a chubster. Don’t get me wrong, people love him for it and he’s dropped weight since, but still, he’s big for the kind of dog he is. Oh, and like Latino families, mine don’t listen and at times give the dog table food behind my sister’s back. When she sees it, she gets rough.

“Maaaaooom!!! I told you not to give him any more food! He already ate! You’re going to kill him!”

Yeah, that, or get diabetes. It’s hard enough having one diabetic in the family, let alone a dog that you have to give shots to. I’m sure they could do it though. But just in case you didn’t know, pets can get diabetes too, especially because they’re over weight and yes, you would have to give them insulin shots like a person would have to take.

I was inspired to write this post because a friend of mine on Twitter said that he has to put his cat down today.

@rudym55: Not a good day. Putting my cat, Rico to sleep. He’s got diabetes. Today SUCKS.

As someone who has seen this in animals before I said to just give him the shots, which he replied were too expensive and that Rico was too old. It’s sad to see pets go, especially when you’ve had them for so long.

So here we go. In my research I came across a page from Washington State University that describes the reasons why pets get diabetes.

“Certain conditions predispose a dog or cat to developing diabetes. Animals that are overweight or those with inflammation of the pancreas are predisposed to developing diabetes. Some drugs can interfere with insulin, leading to diabetes.”

The animals can develop diabetes at all ages like humans, and is usually found twice as much in female dogs and male cats, which I found interesting. Although cats have the option of oral medication, only shots work on dogs.

According to an article on petplace.com, dogs too have a Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Mostly all cases, though, are Type 1. As in humans, diabetes is not sexist nor breedist. It affects both male and female dogs and of all types.

Like I mentioned in a previous post, the cause of diabetes was found through experimentation on dogs. According to Islets of Hope, a site with information dedicated to diabetes, Polish-German physician Oscar Minokowski removed a dog’s pancreas in 1889. It was then that they made the connection between the pancreas and diabetes because the dogs urine contained sugar. They noticed this because of flies feeding on the urine.  For decades after that, dogs were used in multiple experiments that pertained to islets (little groups of cells that produce insulin) and insulin secretion. Many dogs were pancreatectomized (had their pancreas removed) for these tests.

So for you diabetics out there, take care of your animals and pets because without them, we wouldn’t be alive today.

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Filed under Complications, Diabetes, Food, Health, History, Insulin, Latinos, Personal, Stories