While Iâ€™m not â€œofficiallyâ€ participating in National Health Blog Post Month (#NHBPM), I do like the topic for today and thought Iâ€™d post my own letter. Iâ€™ve posted one to myself as a newly diagnosed girl before, but not as myself entering into adulthood. So, here goes!)
I know you think youâ€™re grown now because you are of the â€œlegal ageâ€ to do most anything (except purchase alcoholic beverages). But let me tell you, youâ€™re far from it. This letter is coming from yourself 9 years into the future, so listen up and take this with a whole spoonful of salt, not just a grain.
This year will mark a big one on your calendar. Youâ€™ll have more freedom to go as you please and do what you want as long as you stay under house rules. And, seeing as how itâ€™s August, youâ€™re starting college as well. Youâ€™ll start out thinking you want to be a nurse, but really dig down deep. Thatâ€™s not your calling. Because the day will come when your mom will skin her leg really bad and the sight of it will make you cringe, thus settling in your mind that you canâ€™t do the nursing gig. Granted, yes, you love health and learning about how the human body works. I mean, who can blame you? Youâ€™ve been under doctors so many years, you could probably educate them on a thing or two! And lab work? Who needs a phlebotomist? Youâ€™ve seen it done so many times, you could probably draw your own vials for testing, right? But Iâ€™m urging youâ€¦ change your major before you start all the nursing classes next semester. Get an arts degree. Go into computer programming. Go to the guidance counselor and get put on the right track that will let you graduate with a degree that will get you somewhere that will show off your abilities to create art and design. And donâ€™t even THINK about taking that summer offâ€¦ you wonâ€™t go back. Then youâ€™ll be thrown into the work force by necessity because youâ€™ll come off of your momâ€™s health insurance. After that, your life will be hard as youâ€™ll stick with jobs that you absolutely hate just so that youâ€™ll have health insurance, which you know you need. So, save yourself the trouble and stay in school and get your degree. But donâ€™t leave homeâ€¦ thereâ€™s something big going to happen in three years.
As far as your diabetes goes, stop playing around. This mess about not checking your blood sugar for weeks on end has got to stop! Do you honestly know what youâ€™re doing to yourself? Youâ€™re currently on ACE inhibitors because you have impaired your kidneys. Granted, youâ€™ll later start taking care of yourself, and your kidneys will go back to working like they should again, but because you didnâ€™t care and didnâ€™t want to care, you now have â€œrenal diseaseâ€ as a permanent mark on your chart, and no matter what happens, doctors and nurses will always keep a closer eye on your kidneys because of it. Yes, diabetes sucks. Yes, itâ€™s totally uncool and depressing because you are not like everyone else â€“ as much as you try to be. But you are trying so hard that you are losing focus in the fact that by ignoring it, it gets worse. Diabetes will not go away. Itâ€™s a part of you. No, you didnâ€™t ask for it, but you have to deal with it.
And donâ€™t worry about the stories youâ€™ve heard about your cousin who got married and his wife left him because of his diabetes. Part of that, Iâ€™m sure is not true. But even if it were, youâ€™ll learn that one personâ€™s fate doesnâ€™t make it your own. In three years (the reason why I said not to leave home), youâ€™ll meet a man who will love you beyond your diabetes. Who will not ever judge you or look down at you or even look at you in the slightest difference from anyone else.
(Sidenote: While youâ€™re dating said awesome man, your beloved pump that you have had for 6+ years will dieâ€¦. and youâ€™ll freak out, as always. But do yourself a favor please! I know youâ€™ll say you canâ€™t afford to go with another company and youâ€™ll just stay with the one you have, but I beg you â€“ do what you can to switch to the company you had in your heart to go for. You ended up going with their pump later anyway, and you were much happier. /sidenote)
The January (20th, to be exact) after you turn 22, he will propose to you. Youâ€™ll be waiting for him to pick you up and he wontâ€™ because heâ€™ll be in â€œtownâ€ with his sister and mom. Youâ€™ll get mad, but Iâ€™m urging you not to. I know youâ€™ll be firing mad and drive to his house to meet him there to save time since heâ€™s already late, which is okay to do, but let him off the hook this time. Because that day will be the day heâ€™ll ask you to marry him and be his wife. And, in October of this year, this man will marry you and promise to love you no matter what â€“ in good times and bad, diabetes included.
After this, youâ€™ll be looking for answers, for comfort, for friendship with other diabetics. Youâ€™ll find a wonderful place on the internet â€“ a social place where tons of other diabetics meet and post stories and support each other. From here, youâ€™ll be a twitter-geek and youâ€™ll even start blogging. Donâ€™t second-guess doing this as it will become the best thing you have ever done for yourself health-wise. Youâ€™ll relive your passion for writing down your thoughts in books, but youâ€™ll do it as an online journal for all to read, and youâ€™ll read otherâ€™s online-journals as well. Seasoned veterans of diabetes, as well as those of parents of children with diabetes too. Youâ€™ll make so many friends, and a few will be very close to your heart. They will teach you that itâ€™s okay that youâ€™re diabetic, and share your victories as well as your sorrows. They will understand you better than anyone else can. And with their support, youâ€™ll learn how to better manage your diabetes. Youâ€™ll learn how to care about it the right way, and not see it as an embarrassment to have. Youâ€™ll see better that YOU CAN DO THIS.
This man will also ask something of you that you have been dead-set on never doing in your life â€“ Be a mom. Not by adoption, but the whole pregnancy kit-and-caboodle. Youâ€™ll be reluctant because you wonâ€™t think youâ€™ll be able to handle it. But youâ€™ll love him so much, you donâ€™t want diabetes be the reason to deny him something he wants as well. Youâ€™ll even give in and try for months and nothing will come of it. Youâ€™ll start to think youâ€™re broken in more ways that just pancreatically. That your diabetes caused you to not be able to be a mom. Well, let me tell you. The Saturday after â€œBlack Fridayâ€, and the day of your hubbyâ€™s 29th birthday, youâ€™ll find out youâ€™re pregnant. And, just a month and a couple of days before your 27th birthday, you will give birth to a wonderful baby boy, and the NICU pediatrician will look at you and tell you that if the records hadnâ€™t indicated that his mom was a diabetic, youâ€™d never know. He will be healthy and strong. The journey to get there wonâ€™t be easy â€“ there will be lots of nights of frightening lows, as well as days where youâ€™ll be going so high that your insulin needs will almost triple what you took pre-pregnancy. But youâ€™ll get through it with Godâ€™s grace and tons of help fro
m your wonderful husband, family and friends.
You are 18. Stop trying to â€œgrow upâ€ and be a 30 year old. Take this time to learn who you are, diabetes and all. Because as you learned a little later in life the hard way, everything you do and have all comes down to YOU. Not what someone else has or what someone else did to you. Itâ€™s all about the choices you make and how you handle and take care of yourself. Love who you are and what God made you to be.
Today starts Diabetes Awareness Month.
Today is also T1 Day.
Today, we kick off a full month devoted to trying to raise awareness for a disease that not only affects our older loved ones, but men, women, and children of all ages.
Can you live with diabetes? Yes.
Is diabetes manageable? Yes, but with a lot of effort and bazillion tons of support.
Is diabetes curable? Not at the moment, but weâ€™re hoping so soon.
Whatâ€™s on the research front? Currently, the APP (Artificial Pancreas Project)
What can you do to help? Donate to research for a cure if you can.
Can you do anything else if youâ€™re tight on money? (Who isnâ€™t these days) YES!! Click here and sign the JDRFâ€™s AP Petition TODAY.
â€œThis post is my October entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If youâ€™d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2011/october-dsma-blog-carnival/â€œ
The question has been asked:
What types of decisions and frequency of diabetes related decisions do you make in any given day?
Well, letâ€™s talk about part A of that questionâ€¦ the types of decisionsâ€¦ for just a moment.
Decisions of Necessity:
1. Do I need this cupcake? (hehee) noâ€¦ for realâ€¦ Do I?
2. Do I need to change my site/set today?
3. I need to check my sugar.. Iâ€™m not feeling right.
4. I need to check my supplies to see if itâ€™s time to reorder.
5. I need to refill my diabetes travel kit.
Decisions of choiceâ€¦
1. Do I *eh-hem* need the chocolate cupcake or the vanilla? Or maybe a different flavor all together?
2. Should I take a stroll in the park to lower my bg or just take the extra insulin?
3. Should I pack glucose tabs or fruit gummies for possible lows today?
Aaaannnd, on to part B.. the frequency of the decisions.
Thereâ€™s really no bullet-point that I can do to this. It just needs explanation.
Some days, every single thing I do is in relation to a diabetes decision I have made. For example, if my day starts off with a high bg, I can pretty well tell you that my bg levels are going to be all over the place for that day, and I have to keep a close eye on whatâ€™s going on as to avoid going so high I canâ€™t control it and possibly ending up in the ER with DKA (oh how we diabetics love our acronyms!). Or the days when nothing I do will bring up a low. I could exhaust all there is in the pantry and still fight a low thirty minutes past when I treated last. These are the days that pretty well every hour of the day, I can make upwards of 10 diabetes-related decisions. To bolus or not to bolus again. To eat a snack or put it off. To check my blood sugar again or bypass it this time. To check or not to check ketones. To change out my set/site to see if itâ€™s the cause of the highs or wait another hour. Thereâ€™s just so many possibilities!
Then there are days that the decisions are simple because diabetes is actually giving me a â€œfreebieâ€ day. A day where everything just seems to work and align with the stars and I score most blood sugars in the low 100â€™s. These are the days where the only decisions I have would be what and when to eat and how to bolus for said food.
I guess the main thing one would have to realize is that even though you donâ€™t see it (hence the term â€œinvisible illnessâ€), a diabeticâ€™s mind is programmed to make pretty much every decision a diabetes related decision. Why? Because the slightest thing we do and not think of how it could impact us would be the one thing that would throw us off the biggest. Donâ€™t think eating one Starburst will hurt? Maybe, maybe not. But if youâ€™re already on a climb up the sticky slope of sugar, youâ€™ve just helped it along a bit. If I honestly rattled off verbally what my mind thinks throughout the day in relation to my diabetes, you would be so sick of hearing it. Then again, maybe that would help bring more awareness to diabetes.
But, then again, that might just get me a one-way ticket to a mental ward as well.
Yeah, Iâ€™m starting early!!!
Blue Fridays for Diabetes Awareness actually start next Friday, but Iâ€™m getting in gear!
I have my blue shirts and devices decked out in blue, ready to go, and Iâ€™m getting the rest of my stuff ready to go too.
Iâ€™m going full-on blue!
Since this whole eczema thing with BabyK, I have been really thinking of dmoms and ddads. Granted, with him, all I have to do is eliminate some foods from my diet and coat him down with cream and a steroid on the bad spots twice per day. Heck, he could even grow out of this by the time heâ€™s two years old, though the possibility is only like, 19.-something percent.
I mean, it was overwhelming to me at first to know that BabyKâ€™s skin couldnâ€™t get dry and that he was itchy all the time when he was broken out. His symptoms can be helped and, if the triggers are found, outbreaks can be few and far between (weâ€™re working on finding the triggers). But with new d-moms and d-dads, itâ€™s a whole different story! D-moms and d-dads are thrown into a whole new world of shots, glucose meters, pumps, pens, strips, tabsâ€¦ the list can go on! Not to mention, when theyâ€™re diagnosed, they have it. Thereâ€™s (currently) no percentage possibility that theyâ€™ll outgrow it (and if there is, I was not in that percentageâ€¦ nor have any of my d-friends). I mean, thatâ€™s it â€“ no support group info given, no hope other than the ole â€œa-cure-is-coming-in-the-next-5-yearsâ€ crap (but hopefully weâ€™ll have the low-glucose suspend technology by then!!!), just a bunch of papers, rx for insulin, and other said accoutrements to help manage their kidâ€™s diabetes.
I guess Iâ€™ve always seen things from the inside looking out. Just like right now. My bg is 311 (high before breakfast, and breakfast made it that much higher! So frustrating!), but you really from the outside canâ€™t tell. I can tell on the inside because I feel tired, dizzy, and just plain yucky. Parents must feel absolutely bat-fit crazy at times because they donâ€™t know what their kidâ€™s blood sugar is doing! Are they high or just tired? Is he/she coming down with a cold? And the LOWS! OMGosh! Itâ€™s no wonder these parents are like white-on-rice when it comes to their kidâ€™s diabetes care. They donâ€™t know how the kids are feeling and how diabetes affects them, they just know that their baby (no matter how old) is fighting to live with this disease, and itâ€™s their responsibility to keep them as healthy as possibleâ€¦ even if this means listening to them scream through shots or finger pricks, or coaxing them to chug down water when they have ketones, or eat something when they are low even though they are animate in refusing it.
Now, granted, yes I do sort of have it easy right now with BabyK. But what do if he doesnâ€™t grow out of this allergy/eczema and he turns out to be allergic to diary and eggs even throughout childhood? (Which Iâ€™m beginning to think itâ€™s eggs. Havenâ€™t had eggs in two weeks and heâ€™s starting to clear up!) What do I do if he goes to school and someone gives him food that has said allergen in it and he breaks out, Heaven forbid it exacerbate into a respiratory allergy as well and he have an asthma attack (very likely since his dad has asthma)? I know Iâ€™m probably going overboard â€“ really overboard. The kid is 3 months old and Iâ€™m flashing forward years into his life, panicking over something that hasnâ€™t even happened yet.
I guess I need to learn that there are a lot of â€œwhat-ifâ€s in life, diabetes or eczema included, and I need to just take things as they come. I canâ€™t do anything about what may or may not happen in the future for him, I can only do what I can for him today as he is.
D-moms and D-dads who I know from Twitter, Facebook, and TuD, you guys rock. Because of all of this, I have a different, deeper, new appreciation for you guys. I seriously wish there were some sort of diabetes boot-camp that newly diagnosed kids and parents of said kids could attend when a diagnosis was given. Like, maybe a week long camp, just like diabetes camp, but more one-on-one. Granted, this would cost an arm and a leg Iâ€™m sure, but can you imagine? In my mind, it would give better insight to what diabetes is, and maybe even help get the kidâ€™s insulin’s adjusted quicker to what they need. Something similar to what was done when I was little â€“ I stayed in the hospital for a week or so. I hear they donâ€™t do that nowâ€¦ just diagnose you and send you home with instructions. It wouldnâ€™t even have to been an all day thing. Like, maybe a two-hour meeting each night for a week to discuss things with a nurse practitioner or doctor. And if could be available for newbies as well as if things were going out of hand again later on, like during growth-spurt times.
I donâ€™t know â€“ itâ€™s just an idea. All I really know is that no matter how serious/easy/hard it may be to manage, finding out your kid has a chronic illness sucks.
After taking BabyK back to the pediatrician yesterday about his eczema rash, I have decided to try my best to go moo-free for 3 weeks to see if his eczema is caused by a dairy allergy. At first, when I heard this a few weeks ago, I thought it would be simple â€“ just donâ€™t drink milk, and donâ€™t eat cheese, chocolate, or ice-cream (did I say no chocolate?! GAH!).
Turns out, itâ€™s not so simple. Read your product labels of most of the things you buy â€“ bread, chips, salad dressings, snack crackers, etc. Most of them have milk or eggs in them. (And, no, eggs do NOT come from cows, but rather chickens â€“ but I was told to eliminate those too.) This is not going to be as easy as I thought.
Why is it when weâ€™re told not to have something, immediately thatâ€™s what you crave? I could have went home and ate the biggest stack of buttermilk pancakes, drank a huge glass of milk, and had a big Snickers or BabyRuth bar for desert. Granted, my blood sugar would go through the roof, but no one would see that. I would probably suffer a few hours while my insulin worked to bring me back down to normal range, but if BabyK is allergic, he would have broken out much worse for days. He would break out in an itchy rash everywhere and everyone would be able to see it, and see that heâ€™s not a happy baby when he breaks out.
I had considered trying him on special formula that is dairy free for a month to see if it helped, but the pediatrician we have is very, VERY pro-breastmilk only, so we are trying every avenue we have until we exhaust them before taking him off of it. He may be allergic to something in my milk, but the pediatrician sees the benefits of all the extra stuff breastmilk provides over formula as being more important right now.
Of course, in addition to benefitting him (as I said â€“ IF itâ€™s a milk-protein allergy), Iâ€™m sure it would help my blood sugar control as milk and itâ€™s products do make my blood sugar do wonky things. I already avoid drinking milk because of it, but never took the leap to actually remove milk completely from my diet. I guess while testing him, Iâ€™ll be testing myself as well.
So, weâ€™ll see. This is going to be a long 3 weeks. At the end of 3 weeks, Iâ€™m to consume something with dairy in it to see if he breaks out again. If he clears up during the three weeks then does break out, itâ€™s a moo-allergy. If not and heâ€™s stays broken out like before, then itâ€™s another allergy. My next trial will be citric acid. Itâ€™s in a LOT of foods and most flavored drinks, even body washes and lotions. Erik has a friend whoâ€™s allergic to citrus, so it gave me the idea to test that as well.
But one thing at a time.
Cuz myyy word. If I cut out both, Iâ€™m not gonna have anything but water to drink and meat to eat! (Iâ€™m sure itâ€™s not that drastic, but ya know.)
Yesterday was mine and Erikâ€™s 4th anniversary. We usually try to do something like going out to eat at a special restaurant or even take a trip. But, since BabyK arrived, we wanted to not go extravagant as you never know what may come up with a baby financially. So, we agreed to make our own dinner at home, but to grill steaks and have baked potatoes instead of the ole chicken salad sandwich or grab-whatever-looks-good-in-the-fridge supper.
But when Erik came home, he also surprised me with a little giftâ€¦.
â€œâ€¦and Baby makes three!â€ â€“ New Parents Ornament
Every year since we have been married, we have gotten a new ornament for our tree from Hallmarkâ€™s Keepsake collection. This year, he got the â€œNew Parentsâ€ one. He said he chose that one because a lot of people would probably be giving us ones that say â€œBabyâ€™s First Christmasâ€ and things like that. He wanted one that, since it was our anniversary, still included him, but would be about usâ€¦. that would mark our first Christmas as parents. (*SWOON!*)
He is so thoughtful. I mean, how much sweeter can you get???
Well, he took it to the next level.
See, earlier in the week, I had shown him the WDD Blue Fridays video and we had a little chat about it and made sure he had blue shirts he could wear, etc. I didnâ€™t think anything of it after that. Well, he apparently did. Because other than the ornament in the bag, I also had this:
Blue circle bead for my Belk bead bracelet (say that 3xfast!)
I automatically assumed that since it was a light-ish blue, it would represent BabyK on my bead bracelet. He looked at me and said â€œLook at it againâ€¦ what does the color look like?â€. I went dumb. I canâ€™t believe I didnâ€™t see it. He looked at me and said â€œItâ€™s almost the exact color of the Diabetes blue circle!â€. It was then it hit me. â€œOH! OMGOSH! THIS. IS. AWESOME!!!!â€
I have a wonderful husband.
I love him.
On my Twitter account, I follow a quote personâ€¦ or bot.. or whatever you call him/her/it named @allgreatquotes. Some of them, I donâ€™t care for too much. Others, I like, so I retweet them. This was this morningâ€™s quote (which I promptly retweetedâ€¦) :
"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." – Vince Lombardi
I like this quote because you can apply it to so many aspects of your life. Granted, this came from the former Greenbay Packers coach, and Iâ€™m sure he was referring mainly to football, but just take it out of the football setting and think of how it is so trueâ€¦ school, marriage, work, etc.
Now, Iâ€™m not saying that if you work hard youâ€™re guaranteed for it to work out. Sometimes, things just simply donâ€™t work no matter how hard you try. But the key is trying, and trying your hardest.
But take that principle and apply it to diabetes.
Before becoming pregnant, the main thing I had to do was to get my levels under control. There were no ifâ€™s, andâ€™s or butâ€™s about it. There was no â€œokay, Iâ€™ll do my best this week and take a day off Saturday.â€ or â€œIâ€™ll work on it and if it doesnâ€™t seem too hard, Iâ€™ll keep it up.â€, or â€œIâ€™ll do what I can, but if it gets hard, itâ€™s just not going to be worth it.â€. No. These were not options in my book. I was going to work hard and keep it up because I knew what it was I was working towards.
While working hard on reaching this goal, I realized there was something else happening to meâ€¦ something inside. Yes, there were just as many good days as there were bad, but there was something about working hard to get there that changed my way of thinking. Taking it slow â€“ one hour at a time, one meal at a time, and one bbb (blood sugar, bolus, and basal) at a time, I slowly learned how to make this disease fit my life, not my life fit this disease. This is not to say that d-burnout didnâ€™t happen â€“ because it did. But the key is not to let it get you down for long. Look back over your past day â€“ week â€“ monthâ€™s hard work and concentrate on the victories you had, and let the victories become your inspiration and encouragement to keep it up that hard work. I found that the harder I worked at controlling my numbers, the harder it was to let them go and slip back into the â€œI just donâ€™t want to care any moreâ€ attitude.
So, to take what he said and change it just a bit, my diabetes mantra (dantra?) from now on will be this: The harder I work at managing my diabetes, the harder it will be to surrender to it. I will not punish myself for the bad times, but will rejoice in the victories and let them carry me through. Because surrendering is giving in. And giving in is not an option.
While living with diabetes, you can become afraid of a lot of things. And, with some of them, if you let that fear get to you, it can hold you back from living.
Fear of getting married. Would I find someone who would understand this disease? Who would be there to help and support me, and not see it as an inconvenience or irritation? Yes! I did.. and heâ€™s wonderful. We will be married 4 years on the 20th of this month, and weâ€™ve been together 6 years as of September 1st of this year. Heâ€™s never once complained about me being a diabetic or showed any sign that itâ€™s an irritation to himâ€¦ other than that he hates to see me deal with it because he just wants me to be healthy.
I was afraid of what having diabetes and a pregnancy would do to me â€“ even with all of the new advances in technology and knowledge since the Steel Magnolia days. Kidney failure being #2 on my listâ€¦ dying being numero uno. But I finally did it. I came, I fought, and I conquered it. And I have a beautiful baby boy. And Iâ€™m still alive and as healthy as a diabetic can be (physically anywayâ€¦ pregnancy messes with ya mentally a bitâ€¦ darn hormones!)
I still have fears though. One being travel. I would absolutely love to go be a part of a d-meetup. But a lot of what holds me back is the fear of travel. Iâ€™m afraid something will happen (train wreck, plane crash, automobile accident, , etc.) and I wonâ€™t have extra supplies that I need and Iâ€™ll be far away from home with no way to get them, or passing out from hypoglycemia in said train-plane-automobile and no-one knowing what the heck is wrong with me, oh the list could go on. â€œUp a creek without a paddleâ€, if you will.
The above picture is a paper thingy from the Chinese cookies. I taped it to my fridge at home. Itâ€™s been there for a long time now. I look at it and try to remind myself that, yes, I may have fears, but if I never face them, theyâ€™ll keep wrapping around me like a boa constrictor until I canâ€™t move.
So, I have a goal. Baby steps, though.
I want to attend a Diabetes Sisters event since itâ€™s somewhat close to home, but not really (itâ€™s in the neighboring state, okay?). That will be away from home, but not away from home. I want to meet up with some of the awesome d-ladies that I speak with on Twitter and read their blogsâ€¦ my diabetes sisters. I am thinking of planning to go to the 2012 meet-up.
Iâ€™ll get there. One day. Because I need to conquer this fear. I love the d-friends I have onlineâ€¦ but I want to meet them in person. To make it real.