Diaberic – DIABetic ERIC

My life so far as Type 1 Diabetic

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

No D Day By Just Eric

No D Day is today, sponsored by Ninjabetic.  The idea is great IMHO.  I think too often we get wrapped up in our D-life, and never get to know who other people we talk to and read about in DOC, that we forget about the rest of our lives.

Well let’s see what I can do.  For me this is like filling out one of those forms you see on the many dating sites.  I never really know what to write in those boxes, and when I do,  I always get an error saying something like I didn’t say enough, and need 1000 more words.  Yeah right.  When I was a teen, I read a saying ” It is better to be silent, and thought a fool, then to speak, and remove all doubt” .  I kinda took that to heart.  But then, I also learned early, some people are going to like you, and others will not, no matter what you do. So I now, and for a long time, don’t really care what you think of me. Seems like a contradiction.  But that is how my life usually ends up.  I was in high school in the 70’s during the time of Viet Nam war, didn’t like the military, ended up spending 15 years in the Army, starting 2 years after the war ended. I hate talking on the phone, and have spent the last 13 years working in a call center, talking on the phone.  Afraid of being alone all my life, but have been most of my life.  The funny part, I feel I did well in the Army, the call center, and even being alone.  A non-conforming conformist.  That is pretty much me.  I am a private person, but if you want to know something about me, I will  be very open.

There we go, about 200 words, to sum me up. Oh yeah,  I know a good bit about computers, (I troubleshoot internet connections on the phone) and I am willing to help if you need some. Maybe one day I will start a blog about that subject one day.

I am done now, you all have a good evening.

Just Eric,,, today. 🙂

http://www.ninjabetic.com/nodday2012

Star date:  2456200.822743

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High and Low Sugar

I want to try to explain how it feels to have low or high blood glucose as compared to being in a normal range.  Sometimes I can remember everything that happens while I am treating for either low or high, other times it is like a blur, and I don’t really remember anything.  The trick for me is to try to catch the warning signs early, and try to treat the symptoms before they get out of control.  Sounds easy, but you have to be aware of how you are feeling, all the time.  You have to keep your diabetes in the fore front of everything else that goes on. Not always easy when, for example, you’re driving in Atlanta at rush hour, or trying to write in your blog.  J   Sometimes I simply don’t have time between feeling the signs, until it is too late.  Especially the low BG’s.  They will sometimes drop from normal to way low with only a minute for me to recognize it is happening.  Maybe I overestimated the carbs in the food I plan to eat, maybe it is my antibodies leave some beta cells alone, and I get an overdose of insulin.  Who can say for sure, it just happens.

Highs are a little bit easier to deal with.  But the highs sneak up on me sometimes too. I usually know the reason behind the highs.  I will eat just a little bit too much, or eat something I know will spike me, and not take insulin. Sometimes it is something that usually does not affect me much, but for some unknown reason, it does. Nuts are an example.  One day I can snack all day long on nuts, and will be good, other days, one nut will send my BG skyrocketing.

My first year or so after DX’d was probably the hardest to deal with.  My A1C was 11 or 12, meaning my average BG level was around 270 to 300.  Not pretty.  The problem was, when I would get my BG down to a more normal range, around 150, I would feel like what I now recognize as starting to go hypoglycemic, or having BG around 50.  I thought the doctors, and all the websites I was looking at were crazy. They wanted me lower (than 150) most of the time.  How could that be, if I felt so bad when I was close to 150?  On one hand I wanted to get under control, but on the other, I didn’t want to feel bad.  I wanted it all to happen at once.  When I finally realized that you just couldn’t do it all at once, is when I started to really feel better about it all.  After 3 ½ years, I am almost at the recommended A1C, (below 7), but it has consistently been going down.  Highs are not normally too bad, unless they hang around for more than a couple of hours.  I now normally check my BG seven times a day regularly.  If I see a high, then with the pump, set up a correction bolus and a couple of hours later it is pretty much back to where it needs to be.  I usually feel a little confusion, and then maybe thirsty.  If it is a stubborn high, one that will not go away, I will get a dull ache across the middle of my back. I will feel hungry, but my stomach will feel full, like I just ate. I guess the best way to describe that is eating Chinese food, eat a full meal, and feel hungry an hour later, but don’t think you can eat just one more bite.  Then there is a general, overall feeling of just lousy.  Sometimes I just want to lie down and sleep, sometimes that works to get things back to normal.  Other times it is just not eating, and pumping insulin.

Low BG’s are scarier.  Especially the ones that come on quick, and will not go away. When a low comes gradually, are not so bad.  I usually start to feel it when the BG starts to get below 70.  I feel light headed, and hungry, but this is a real hunger, like I haven’t eaten in a long time.  The lows that come on slowly are not so bad, it just means that I took a little bit too much insulin for what I ate, or maybe my basal is working too well (if possible).  It is just a matter of eating something, a little bit, but because I feel real hunger, I want to eat everything in sight.  To combat that I prefer to eat a slow acting carbohydrate (I mentioned many times, M&M with peanuts) will quell the hunger, and still increase my BG to where it needs to be in a short time. A banana will work just as well (better, health wise) and I keep at least one with me all the time.  Many people will tell me that bananas will make the sugar go up too much, but most of the time I seem to do just fine.  By the way, even though I mention the chocolate a lot for lows, I will eat a banana more often to treat lows, and save the chocolate more for a reward.   Most doctors, diabetes education personnel will recommend (highly) against using slower carbs for treatment of lows, but I like to do this because I can monitor the progress better, and will not tend to overdo it by eating too much.  The ones that sneak up on me require immediate action, thus a fact acting carb.  Here is why I say lows are scary.  I get really fuzzy, I can’t think straight. More recently I noticed that it starts to look dark, and it seems like I am looking at things thru a fish-eye lens or looking thru a tunnel. I feel weak, and talk funny.  Many times I will repeat a word, or can’t say the next word, even though I know what I want to say.  At work, I think that it is kept too cold, and I will usually wear a light jacket, but when the low BG hits, I will actually sweat a lot.  And then shake.   I know what I need to do, eat something, but sometimes I just don’t feel like I have enough strength to.  It is confusing.   I keep some glucose tablets for those times; fortunately I don’t have to use them too often.  What I do,  is eat one or two of the tablets (depending on how low) and a slow acting carb, for the same reason as above.

Then there are the other bad times, the wild swings, the going from high to low or low to high too fast.  It is like going from bad to worse, and then back again.  It is really frustrating,  you fix one thing,  and start to feel better then you start to feel bad again with the other symptoms start so you fix again, hoping you don’t over-fix just to do the cycle over and over.  In the beginning of my “adventure” was like that.  I had to learn how much fixing was needed.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of trial and error to this.  I use a range method to correct either highs or lows.  For example, if my BG is 50-60, just a banana or a bag of M&M’s will work.  Below 50 calls for a glucose tablet or 2, and a banana, to get back in normal range.  If I feel low, and I am above 70, a banana and a little insulin.  For the highs, I use a wider range, usually a 50 points spread of BG levels.  So, for example, if I am 200-250, I will correct with a certain amount of insulin, 250 – 300 use a little more insulin.  In both cases, I will check BG again in about an hour, then, if needed, another correction.  So far, these methods seem to work for me, to keep me from over-correcting.

The most frustrating thing is when you find something that you can eat (and like) that is fairly predictable, to stop being predictable at all. A search for something new begins, trial and error, hoping something, anything will work.  My whole diet has changed several times, especially breakfast.  I have tried everything from bacon and eggs, to oatmeal, to whole grain cereal and milk, to even skipping breakfast.  Within a couple of months, I always end up too high in mid-morning.  Oh well, variety, the spice of life.

It is really hard to explain how it feels to be high or low, either way it is confusing, frustrating, irritating, scary, all at the same time.  It is just an all-around terrible feeling.  Trying to find the best way to deal with all of this is a challenge, to say the least, for all involved.  My wish, for you, is your challenges are few.

Stardate:  2456200.436921

Juvenile Onset Diabetes

I don’t want to make this a place for me to rant, but I have to say something about this.

I was listening to a news show this morning (22 Sept, 2012) I was getting ready for a visit to see my son, so I really wasn’t watching.  There was a story about school lunches, and how schools were cutting calories in their lunches to help obesity problems in the country.  The discussion turned to how the kids were still hungry after eating lunch.  Some of the pro’s for limiting the calories in the lunches was less junk foods served in favor of healthier choices, teaching about healthier eating, and a couple other points that I don’t remember right now. Another points was a reduction in Juvenile Onset Diabetes.  That is what got to me.  Type 1 Diabetes used to be called that, because most cases were were first diagnosed in people under 20-25 years old. Getting Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by eating improperly.  It is when your pancreas makes very little or no insulin, to allow cells to use sugar(glucose) for energy. It is an auto immune disease, where the antibodies kill beta cells when they are not supposed to.  While not always the case, obesity is more likely the culprit in Type 2 Diabetes. That used to be call ed Adult Onset Diabetes, as older people were more likely to be first diagnosed with this disease. The reporter would have been more accurate by saying Adult Onset Diabetes diagnosed in juveniles or simply Type 2 Diabetes. It is a fact that Type 2 diabetes is found more in younger people.   I had to send an email to the program, I was late leaving to see my son, I was so irritated.

With most television shows, you have to take the information with a grain of salt so to speak.  BUT, many people will take this as true, thus broadening the a misconception of Type 1 Diabetes.  If someone can be fortunate to be diagnosed with a chronic disease, I am, I was diagnosed when I was 50 years old,  I could have had this most of my life. So a mistake like the one the reporter made, really should not bother me like this.  I am thinking though, to all the people watching this, would assume a person who has diabetes, is obese, and that what you eat and how much you eat “causes” all diabetes,  all obese people are diabetic, and if you are of normal body stature, you don’t have a risk of diabetes.  None of that is true.  When you have Type 2 Diabetes, the bodies produces enough insulin, but it it not used efficiently. Or if the body mass becomes excessive, then what insulin is produced is not enough, so that is why obesity is a factor in Type 2.  If you are Type 2, and obese, the severity can be lessened by losing weight. If you are Type 1, and obese,  losing  weight,  will not lessen the severity of diabetes, but  may lessen the severity or possibility of other conditions, but you will still have to inject insulin.

The media needs to start making a distinction, especially when trying to associate obesity or eating improperly, with diabetes.  There needs to be something more said.  A disclaimer, so to speak, that there are 2 main types of diabetes.  One CAN BE diagnosed with an underlying cause of your life style and obesity the other is diagnosed no matter what your life style, or other factors.  We need to be aware of the different types of diabetes, and that many of us have no choice, an no matter what we do, we will always have to count carbs, figure out how much insulin is needed, and inject it.  At least until a cure is found.

I don’t want to leave the impression that I don’t like Type 2’s, or infer that Type 2’s did something to cause their problems.  I don’t know, and I haven’t read enough to make a well informed opinion on that.  What I don’t like, is what I see in news shows, some medical shows and most commercials do not make a distinction when talking about diabetes. Especially when they are talking about nutrition or obesity links to this disease, it is just called Diabetes, or Type 2 Diabetes, and never take time to distinguish or explain a difference between the 2 types.

Enough of my rant,  that you for listening.

star date 2456193.508507

Numbers, Numbers and More Numbers

If you are diabetic, your life suddenly becomes all about numbers.  How many carbs, how high or low your blood glucose is, your A1C, ICR, units of insulin, bolus, basel, and the list goes on and on.  I have already blogged about 2 of my most irritating numbers (carb counting and A1C).  Until now.

I read a post, on TuDiabetes, about how all these numbers are just really tools to help you manage your daily life.  A person cannot have good numbers all the time. And for some unknown reason, they just will not add up.  For a good personal example, yesterday, I was having problems keeping my BG below 200.  All day long…. I’d check my BG, correct bolus, check again, a couple hours later and need more insulin.  Today, I was having trouble getting above 100.  All day long, And the strange thing, I ate pretty much the same food, except today, I ate more to try and raise my BG.  Yesterday, I used 44.5 units of insulin, today, just over 35 units.  Go figure.

Alright back to my point.  All these numbers are just tools to use to manage.  You are going to have days like I did yesterday, and compare it to a day like I had today.  Then you will have days that work out the way that can be predictable,  eat 10 carbs, use 1 unit of insulin with  a basel rate of 1 unit per hour will keep you in range as predicted.  You can’t get upset over the “bad” days.  They will not be all bad.  You are not a “bad diabetic” if you don’t have strict control all the time.

We all should have GOALS to work for, and as long as the overall goal is met, then you are good.  My new overall goal is to live the best I can.  As long as I can say, “I did my best”, I will not stress over the not meeting the numbers all the time.

Star Date:  2456193.403367

Courage

I think that whether you were diagnosed years ago, or just today, every once in a while you need a bit of courage.  Just to get through the day, the next hour, the next minute, or even the next few seconds.  One of my more ominous thoughts is that I will have  T1 the rest of my life, will I always have the resources to get all the supplies that I need for both living and managing my life.  It takes a bit of courage to think positive.

Courage can come from many places.  Sometimes it is just in you, hiding just out of your reach, until you need it.  One of the parts of my treatment is the daily injections of insulin.  When I was in the hospital, I had an IV that had insulin.  After that the nurse was giving me the shots up until the last 2 days.  I was given a video tape to watch and a book on how to do it.  I watched and read, and re-read. The best place to inject was your stomach.  Man, I was worried.  How can anyone do that.   I opted for the second best place, my legs.  I was never able to do it like the “pros” do it.  You know, like throwing a dart.  One, two, three, go.  I probed, found a place that felt like it would not hurt, and slowly pushed the needle in, waited a second, and pushed the plunger down, slowly.  Then quickly out.   I can’t do that in my stomach.  I also read in a lot of blogs and forums, others feel the same way.  Then I got to thinking to the future,  I have to do this 4 or more times a day.  For the rest of my life.  Wow.  More thoughts.  When I am at work, and I need a shot of the juice, I have to pull down my pants to do get a dose.  The only place to do that is in the bathroom.  Would medical personnel give someone a routine shot in a BATHROOM?  I got to give me a shot in the stomach.  It really was that bad, the same method as in the leg, probe, insert needle, slowly plunge, out of there quick.  Not bad, I can do this.   That worked for the bolus, the fast acting insulin for meals, usually a small dose, under 10 units.  The Basel, long acting insulin,  was a different story.  A much bigger dose,  3 times as much as the biggest  bolus.  Those would have to be in the leg, those were given at night, home alone.  Until one day, the probing could not find a spot that did not hurt.  Took a long time to give me a shot that night.  I finally decided, found the courage to do the basel in my stomach.   I needed it, I found a spot on my stomach, on the first probe,  WOW, no different than a bolus.  Preservation of my life caused the courage I needed to “shoot up” in my stomach.  Inner courage, a great thing.

I believe a lot of people, myself included, find courage on DOC – Diabetes Online Community.  I have a few links for some sites on my links page, and on my side bar.  I hear it said many times, “Knowledge is Power”, well I want to change that a little bit.  “Knowledge is Courage” .  If you think about it, courage is power, a power over something that causes you angst.  In my personal diabetes experience, much of my fear about the disease is displaced  by learning, reading about others experiences, how others have overcame some issue or another.  Just knowing that others have faced many similar  issues,  similar questions, and best of all similar victories, you can too.

Learning about how diabetes works, what doesn’t work in your pancreas, what insulin does, what food (specifically carbs), protein, fats, fiber do to your blood sugar, can give you the courage to manage your life or  a loved one’s life.  It can give your the extra “umph”  to reach a little deeper to grab that little bit you didn’t know you had.

If you do something that you think is noteworthy, note it.  Use a blog, a social site, a local group, anywhere, as I believe that you will encourage courage in someone he needs just a bit to get through the next day, hour, minute, or even the next few seconds.  You have the rest of your life to get done. 🙂

Star date:  2456185.513889

My First JDRF Event

I  went to my first JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)  event this afternoon. I was interested in meeting people who has to deal with the same issues I do.  I was a little disappointed in the event, as it was designed more for children, not adults.  I stayed because there was also representatives from all the companies that I deal with regularly. I was also assured that I would be welcomed.  I did sign up for an advocacy group with the JDRF, and am now on an email list for to call Congressmen and Senators if a new bill is before Congress that deals with Diabetes.  I forgot about that on my Advocacy page, but will post any info that I get here.

I was also told that a representative from a local adult support group would contact me as well.  I am looking forward to that.

My life is all about T1, now, but sometimes I feel I don’t fit in anywhere.  While I felt welcomed and comfortable at the fall carnival, most of the people there that were my age, were parents or someone that has been living with T1 for a lot longer than I have.  But my motto is “Never Give Up”   In a city that has almost 5 million people, I am sure that there are others out there.  I just need to be more involved.

If you are interested in becoming a JDRF Advocate, you can visit their About JDRF Advocacy page .

If you have an adult support group already and in the Alpharetta, Norcross, GA, area, please email me using my form.

Star Date:  2456180.256944

Balance

I recently read a post  in a forum about if a diabetic ever found bliss in their illness. There was lots of replies to the post, most were in agreement with my feelings.  We doubt if we will ever find “bliss” in having diabetes, but we can celebrate our accomplishments.  My post “Little Victories”  is about one such accomplishment.  On one hand, I remember, I was really happy about the better than before test results, but on the other, it was still in the back of my mind, I have a chronic disease.  Bitter-sweet.

After reading that I realized I have not wrote anything for a while, I need to correct that .  I thought about different things to write about,  how I moderate and modified my eating, and remembering how I was eating before, or grief over my dead and dying beta cells.  I was doing research on the stages of grief, and having a chronic illness.  Did you know, there are as few as 3 and as many as 10 stages of grief?  But  I really was not finding anything that I thought would be useful here, until I found this article ” Living with Chronic Illness, by Elizabeth Holtzman”   .

The first point  is chronic illness is a result of medical advances.  I had to think about that one a minute or two.  But I can see that.  In my case, less than a hundred years ago, I would have died shortly after I was diagnosed, the same holds true with  many other diseases now known as chronic. Without medical advancements, many people would not only be dead from illness, but injury as well.  I have also been reading about how some diseases have cures, cancer has been rumored to have a cure since I was a teenager and a more recent one found for diabetes.  However, the medical and pharmaceutical industries have found money making machines, and  keep the cures from being “found”.  I find that a little bit far fetched, I cannot, will not believe that there is such a cold feeling and greed among so many companies and individuals for that.

The second point, has one of the most interesting perspectives I have seen so far.   I liked the whole article, but towards the end I found this wonderful paragraph.  I was unable to find a contact for the writer, so I will not use her words, but basically she says, if you have a chronic illness, you search for a balance to improve your life.  You need to learn about your illness, to manage it, and accept limits, and appreciate what you have apart from the illness.  Inspiring to me.  Reading that made me think again,  I am doing the correct things, by researching, learning, applying, trying, and regrouping and trying again.

Balance is key.  Finding what time you can devote to your life before your diagnosis, and managing you life after.  I may never find bliss, or even complete happiness, but if I want to have the most enjoyment from life, I have to find what suits me best.

Yes there are times when I get burned out, and wonder if I can go on, but I remember, eventually, about what I have, and what I want to accomplish still.  The bouts of burn outs will probably continue to happen, but  with all that I have learned, hopefully they will not be long drawn out affairs.

star date:  2456174.522222

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