Tag Archives: Type I Diabetes

If You’re Like Me…

If you’re like me, you don’t like to be told what to do. Even more, you hate it when you hear the same thing over and over again. Usually, this is why I don’t tell people what I give up for Lent because they’ll be sure to tell me what not to say, eat or do. “Shouldn’t you not be eating meat?”
When I was first diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, juvenile diabetes or whatever else you want to call it, I was 7 years old and about to start second grade. Upon the first day of school, it started. She has a disease, she can’t have candy, she gets special sugar-free candies, she can go to the bathroom whenever she needs to. I had a brown paper back in my locker with crackers and regular soda, in case I should get shaky. It was oddly great and weird at the same time.
For Halloween, I got apples. For Valentines Day, I didn’t get candy. For all other times I was asked, “Can you eat that? Isn’t that bad for you?”
It’s exhausting to have to explain yourself over and over especially as a kid. Now that I’m older and have much better control of myself than I did when I was seven, I still get that.
“Youre diabetic, you shouldn’t have that.”
“Is that ok for you?”
“Should you be eating that?”
I understand that people are concerned, but dammit, I have the disease, not you. I know what I can eat, I understand my limitations and I know what comes with it.
My favorite was when a pharmacist in California told my boyfriend not to offer me diet Coke because it still had sugar in it and he should know better. First of all, there’s no sugar, just caffeine which still makes your sugar go up but not drastically and sugar alcohols don’t count. Secondly, mind your own business. Thirdly, she obviously didn’t realize I was Type I. If you’re going to say something, make sure you know what you’re talking about.
I don’t mind when people ask how everything works because then they just want to be educated, but if you think you know more than me, you got another thought coming.
Now, I understand that people feel the same way that may be uneducated about being diabetic. Totally get that and that’s why instead of attacking anyone, I choose to inform them about what can and will happen should they not take care of themselves, nor understand what the consequences are. People feel like they got it and I get that, but, like in my last blog, when I ask how often you check your blood sugar and you say “sometimes” I know there is something wrong.
So please, if you want to be concerned, ask questions and get educated if you want to be supportive of my disorder. But never assume you know what’s going on or that you know more than I do. And definitely, don’t tell me what I should or should not do.
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Sometimes Anger Creeps In

There are a lot of things that get to me. You could say that I’m a very emotional person, however you look at me. I have different experiences with diabetes; sometimes I’m fine, other times, I get very angry. In the past blog, I mentioned that my previous doctor loved diabetes. She told me to do what she said and she’d figure out the rest.

At one point, they put this CGM or continuous glucose monitor on me for a week. What it does is checks your blood sugar once every 5 minutes. It keeps all the data and then once the chip is connected to a computer, it shows you graph after graph and all the numbers. They do this to test how well you’re monitoring yourself; if you give yourself the right amount of insulin for the food you’re eating and check your own blood sugar. With the CGM, you can’t see the numbers, it’s just a little thing inserted into your side with a catheter. You don’t go over all of the results until you’re with your doctor the following week. It was a wake up call to say the least.

The monitor looked like this little shell on my side, taped to my hip. I had to record every thing I ate, my insulin in take, the time everything happened. The last day I had it on, I was going to make every effort to keep everything perfect, to show if you will, that I had learned something important. When I stopped for lunch, mind you, I hadn’t eaten anything that morning, my sugar was high. I didn’t expect it to go up at all, since all I had done was taken the train.

I got angry. They couldn’t tell me what had happened, I couldn’t tell me what happened and at the same time, I thought, why the hell do I even try?

The doctor even asked me if I had been scared or stressed between the time I left my house and the time I stopped for lunch. Let’s just say, I didn’t even want to eat after that.
That night, I went home feeling bad. How was I supposed to work with something that was going to do what it wanted anyway? It’s like when a kid does exactly what their parents say yet still doesn’t get that toy they’ve wanted because they didn’t do it the exact way mom said. I don’t even know if that makes any sense.

I ended up telling a friend about it, who clearly didn’t understand, basically making it my fault. Again, it was my fault for not taking care of myself, for doing things wrong and I got angry.
Why did I have to have this disorder? Why did my pancreas have to give out? Why is it that couldn’t be normal like everyone else? I don’t want to have to do this because like everything  else, it’s a lot of work.

But then The fighter in me came out and I said, no one else could fix this beside me. No one could know my body better than me, this body, susceptible to emotion and stress that has a great effect on the blood sugar and vise versa. When my blood sugar drops I get very touchy and emotional. When it goes up, I get sleepy and tired.

The reason why I write about this is because my new doctor wants to do it again. I’ve finally made the decision to get the pump, which is basically an external pancreas which is always attached and gives me a certain amount of insulin at a time throughout the day. This means no more shots. But the thought of having this thing put on me again makes me weary. Hopefully I’ve learned something and this time it won’t be so shocking.

I just have to keep reminding myself that I will continue to work hard for me for my family and for those who love me. I don’t want to lose my limbs, have a heart attack or die a premature death. I want to live as well as everyone else I know. And I will.

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Type III Insights: No Textbook Terminology

When you study something in a book for a few years and then try to take everything you’ve learned and apply it to a person, it’s not the same thing. People are not the same and they don’t know what to do with you. They don’t know how to talk to you and they tell you you’re doing things wrong.

Hi, my name is Christina and I’m diabetic.

I wrote the first blog on a whim, but I feel that those of you who read this need more a description of who I am. I’m not a textbook, I’m human. I don’t do things the precise way, because well, I either forget or don’t want to. We’re human. I’m human.

I doubt that you’ve read the ABOUT page, so I’m just going to tell you a bit more about myself. Since I was seven years old, I was told that I would have to check my blood sugar every day at least 3 times a day but I didn’t know why. It wasn’t until I got a doctor who yelled at me for not doing what I was told instead of explaining to me what was going on in my body, did I get on it. After that doctor, I had one who didn’t care. I didn’t have to check myself as much and so, I didn’t. I learned about things that could happen to me but I didn’t know that I could take control of my diabetes the way people drive a car.

I then found a doctor who was married to a diabetic, loved diabetes herself and told me, you have to understand what’s going on in order to fix it. Check and cover: Check your blood sugar and remember to take the amount of insulin to compensate for what you eat. I felt liberated. I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I knew how to manage and take care of my body. I remember her telling me, “You do what I tell you to do, tell me what happens and I’ll figure out what’s wrong.” I had never had a doctor like that before. The diabetic educator was that much better. Kim had been living with diabetes for over 29 years and she knew exactly what was going on in her body. She explained everything I needed to know and made me want to learn more.

I lost that doctor (hoping to get her back) because of insurance problems and recently went to see another doctor. Unlike Aleppo, this chick told me to switch to decaffeinated coffee because I told her my sugars went up when I had caffeine in my system. Aleppo just told me to take a unit or two of insulin. The differences were vast. I had gotten used to my liberation mentality and now this one was trying to keep me strict again. I had to explain to her that I knew the reason for things and that I wasn’t going to let that happen to me again.

Right now, I check my blood sugars between 7-10 times a day. I run out of strips so fast that I have to explain to my doctors what I do in order to get them to write me another prescription. When I have one strip left, I panic! I’ve learned that in order to keep control of myself, I need to know myself and checking my blood sugar is the answer to a lot of questions I have. I’m thirsty. Check blood sugar. My head hurts. Check blood sugar. I feel tired. Check blood sugar.

Sometimes, I may think I take the right amount of insulin, but I’m wrong. This is the importance of the continued checking. Or I might take too much. In order to keep control, you have to know how.

I’m not into fancy terminology. Cardiovascular, glucose, amputations. No. If we’re going to talk about that here, I’m going to tell you, “Check your blood sugar on that little machine there that goes ‘beep’ because if you don’t your sugar will go up, you’ll poison yourself, have a heart attack or get your leg chopped off. Better yet, you might just go blind, get a bunch of sores on your body and not be able to have sex any more. Eh?” At least, that way, you’ll understand what I’m telling you.

So let the flood gates open! Ask me questions. I have a lot of different stories when it comes to diabetes, so I’ll be posting them all here. I’m also going to start doing research on methodologies and things like that because everyone wants to know, and I have no answers because there not released to the public (among other things).

I’m not a doctor, nor a diabetic educator or a nurse. I’m a human, peer who lives with the same disease and disorder that millions upon millions of people live with in this country. Although I have Type I diabetes, I CAN answer questions about Type II.

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