high

Dear X

Dear X

Dear X
Dear X,

You’ve been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It seems as if we’ve always been together. Even when you weren’t physically present, or I wasn’t paying attention, you were never far away.

There was a time when I was afraid of you. Your temper and recklessness frightened me, and how it seemed like you could dictate how I should act at any given moment. Your lows, your highs, I was there for them all. I never left your side, just like you never gave me the choice of you leaving mine.

The thing is, times have changed. I’m older now, wiser now, more experienced now, and I realize that it is my choice how much you are present in my life. Whether you are physically here or not, you will always be a part of my world, because you always have been. In many ways, I am grateful for that. You have taught me things that I couldn’t possibly have learned on my own. You have taught me patience, the value of hard work, that I will have hard times, and also that I will overcome those hard times.

But you don’t own me.

I am me. I cannot do anything about the past, but I have full control of my present, and my future. Blaming me for whatever happens to you is as futile as me blaming you for what happens to me. The blame serves no purpose, and doesn’t change anything. I choose to include you in my life as I see fit. Maybe I choose to have you attached to me, or just around to make a point when I need your input, or maybe there are times that I celebrate you and the community that you’ve inspired. But I refuse to carry on as if you are more important than I am.

I MUST come first. You don’t own me.

If I’m being totally honest, I don’t really mind sharing my world with you. Through you, I have met so many wonderful people who mean the absolute world to me. I wouldn’t have met them without you. Just like you, they inspire me to do better. They inspire me to rise up from all the things that hold me back. They inspire me to accept the things I cannot change, they give me the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

I’m learning the pattern of things as time goes by, and how to anticipate what is going to happen next. Still, I stumble. As much knowledge and foresight as I have, things that are completely outside of my control happen, and often I am asked to take on the responsibility of those consequences, as if they were somehow my fault. I feel like you put that burden on me more often than not.

Still, you don’t own me.

I can carry the burden. I’ve got an army of people behind me that will not let me fall down. I know who I am, and I know who I am not.

I don’t always know who you are. But no matter what form you take, everything you throw at me just makes me that much stronger, because I am in control.

You. Don’t. Own. Me.

 


This post was inspired by the song “Dear X (You Don’t Own Me)” by Disciple, off of their album Horseshoes & Handgrenades.

Giant Chicken

Wrestling with The Giant

It has been a couple of weeks since I’ve put together a solid blog post. I’ve been busy. I’ve been traveling. I’ve been exhausted. I’ve been preoccupied. But mostly, I’ve just been out of whack.

Normally, my blood sugars are prone to running low. I can be eating and run low. It’s just the flavor of diabetes that I’ve been blessed with, despite the basal testing and best precautions. The past couple weeks though, I’ve found myself in the 200’s on more than one occasion. At work sometime around mid-morning, 229. Before spin class, 250. A few hours after dinner, 240. Granted, I still have an occasional low, like yesterday’s lovely panic-laced BG of 37, but still. I hate running high.

Since I am accustomed to running numbers in the double digits rather than triple figures, I can feel every single mg/dl of a 200+ blood sugar. It makes me tired, it makes me irritable, it makes me unable to focus, and it makes me wonder what in the Sam Hill is going on?!

To try and figure out where this out of whackedness is coming from, I figure it’s worth taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. I can’t keep proceeding like this, so I have to find out where my stresses are, and remove them.

So my blood sugars are higher than normal. Why? The first guess is something to do with my diet. I will admit that I’ve had a few more carbs in my meals than I should have lately, but I’ve also started back at the gym for the past three weeks. I need those carbs for fuel. I’ve discovered spin class at the gym, and I can’t keep up the pace for 45 minutes that burns calories, gets my heart pumping, and leaves my entire body covered in sweat if I don’t have the proper fuel. My blood sugar can easily drop 100-200 mg/dl in one single spin class, so it requires a careful balancing act of fuel in and power out. Still, if I’m being honest with myself, I probably don’t need ice cream, pizza, or Chinese take-out to fuel my gym experience. I know I could do a bit better job. But is that it, just my diet that could use a little fine tuning?

Being tired is easy to understand. I don’t sleep enough. But why am I not sleeping? Probably because I have way too much on my mind lately. My mind is all work, responsibilities, money, worry, friends, family, never feeling like I am getting enough accomplished, needing outlets and not being able to find them, not being able to share and say what I really think about things, not getting the support that I need, keeping way too much bottled up inside…too much thinking!

Or maybe too much coffee. Naa…no such thing.

Ironically, I can’t focus because I have too much to focus on. To give one thing my undivided attention, I stress out over everything else that gets ignored and suffers. It’s this constant vicious cycle that keeps repeating over and over, and meanwhile I feel like I’m falling further and further behind.

As you can see, it isn’t just one thing that is the challenge that must be overcome. It is all of it added together that makes it a giant. I don’t know what the exact solution is, but I know I have to keep trying, and hope that I’ll find a way to bring this giant down to size before he looks at me and says, “Hmm…tastes like chicken?” and then eats me alive.

Giant Chicken

Today I’m going to put a new CGM sensor on my body, and I’m going to pull the rug out from under these high blood sugars at least. I hate them. They make me feel awful. So goodbye to them. I’m bad about taking breaks away from CGM, but I didn’t get it just to look at it. I got it to warn me of when there is a problem, diabetically speaking. Be it warning me that I’m high or low, the CGM has a purpose, and I’m not giving it a fair opportunity to help me when I’m not wearing it. And clearly, I need the help right now.

I’m also going to resign myself to focusing on just one project, at least temporarily. Not 30 projects and things that I need to get done. Just one. And I’m not going to stop until that one is done. Because then I will have 29, instead of 30. And that is progress, no matter what speed it travels at.

Welcome to DTreat

Welcome to DTreat

I worked last night until 11 o’clock trying to get things that I absolutely had to do accomplished. Then I went home and did laundry, and I was supposed to pack and get all my stuff together for the DTreat. But I didn’t. Nope. I fell asleep before anything sensible like that could be accomplished. That’s what happens after you go full throttle all day and night.

Know what else happens? You wake up low and move at a snails pace with the half realization that there is no possible way you’re going to get everything that you failed to accomplish the night before done in time to get to where you’re supposed to be later in the day. I scrambled around and finally managed to leave the house in time to get to DTreat in Tampa before things kicked off at 6 o’clock. However, I forgot that it is the Friday before the July 4th holiday weekend. I ran into more traffic and accidents than I had budgeted time for, so I finally made it to the DTreat almost two hours after registration had been scheduled to close. At one point I was sitting on I-75 with my car parked and turned off, ten miles away from the DTreat, and no way to get there but wait for the Florida Highway Patrol to clear the accident that was ahead. I called A-Flizzle practically in tears of frustration, I had a massive headache from not eating all day, and I was so close, yet so far way.

It was a horrible day. Until I saw this…

Welcome to DTreat

…and that made all the difference in the world.

I arrived at DTreat just in time to miss dinner, but also just in time to get to meet other people with Type 1 diabetes who are just like me. We started with an exercise that was an icebreaker, basically introducing ourselves. It occurred to me as we were doing an exercise that demonstrated our strength and ability to make things happen as a group that even though I didn’t yet know the names of most of the people there, there was not a stranger in that room. Every single person within those four walls “gets it.” They understand the seemingly random beeps of a pump and CGM monitor. They don’t think twice about pricking a finger and testing before having a snack. They know what it’s like to be “low” and “high,” and have wildly entertaining stories to go with each.

These are my people.

I am so thankful for the folks here who are in college, transitioning from life with parents to life on their own, and the fact that they have something as amazing as DTreat to help them deal with their diabetes while they deal with their new found independence.

I am so thankful for those folks here who are just beyond college, and are transitioning into a professional life of a contributing adult in society, and that they have this amazing opportunity to meet other adults who are doing and have done that same exact thing.

I didn’t have this opportunity when I was in those various transition stages of life. I didn’t have anyone. That’s why I am so very thankful that I have this opportunity, to be a part of something bigger than just me, and to be able to see, hear, touch, and be touched by others and know without a doubt that I’m not alone with my diabetes.

Nicole Johnson, former Miss America, and pretty much boss of breaking the mold of what you can and can’t do with Type 1 diabetes, is greatly involved with the DTreat. She talked to us a bit tonight about finding the fire to fuel your life with diabetes. You don’t have to be perfect with diabetes. It’s okay for all of us to identify things that we suck at, especially with our diabetes. (Side note: Nicole didn’t say “suck,” because she is more eloquent then I am. That’s all me, Martin Wood, paraphrasing by using words out of my full color English dictionary.) Nicole stressed that if you can find the strengths in your life with diabetes, and use that perspective as fuel, it will make you stronger and help you overcome those days when diabetes wins.

DTreat - Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson at DTreat

There was one exercise that we did tonight that identifies some of the big issues we deal with while living life with diabetes. While this event does focus on Type 1 PWD’s, many of the topics identified resonate throughout the diabetes community, regardless of type. Things like traveling with diabetes, exercise, relationships, insurance, stress, diet, family, work, technology, myths and misconceptions. I’m looking forward to the discussion about these topics over the next couple of days.

Something that I realized when I was looking at all of the notes on the walls and seeing all of these other amazing people adding their thoughts to them was that we are most assuredly not alone with diabetes. Looking around the room, everybody there has as many questions about their diabetes as I have about my own. Those that have lived with diabetes only a few months, and those who have lived with diabetes for decades, we all have questions.

I know that this DTreat is not going to answer all of those questions. Just knowing that someone else is asking the same questions about their diabetes as I am makes me feel a whole lot better about not knowing all the answers.

NYC D-Meetup

30 Years With Diabetes

Today’s Diabetes Blog Week topic is diabetes bloopers. You know, those things that make you go, “D’Oh!” and facepalm yourself. I’ve had my fair share of diabetes bloopers: Dropping & shattering glass vials of insulin, running off on trips without all of my diabetes supplies, forgetting to dose for a meal, forgetting that I already dosed for a meal, finding the cat playing with rogue pump tubing, catching the dog gnawing on a perfectly good tube of glucose tabs…the list goes on and on.

The blooper that is really on my mind today is the one that my pancreas made 30 years ago when it decided to quit working. Or maybe it was my immune system that decided to work too well. Or maybe it was because I had chicken pox. Or maybe it was because someone got me wet or fed me after midnight. Or maybe it was because a butterfly flapped its wings in China. 30 years after the fact there is so much more we know about diabetes, but what exactly causes it and how to cure it are still not on that list, despite what we were told about how close we were to a cure when we were diagnosed.

Today is a day of celebration, of blessings, thankfulness, and appreciation. I have learned more in my 30 years with diabetes than some people learn in a lifetime. Living with diabetes has taught me so much, and coupled with other life lessons, I would be remiss to not stop for just a moment and appreciate the gifts that I have been given…thanks to diabetes.

The 1st 10 Years

  • If you’re low, anytime is snacktime.
  • Bananas and peanut butter on vanilla wafers is the best snack in the world.
  • You can’t go play when you blood sugar is high. But if you can sneak away when your parents aren’t looking, it’s fair game. The back door doesn’t squeak and make noise like the other ones do.
  • Swimming always makes you go low.
  • Visiting the cute nurses on the Pediatric floor at the hospital when you’re there for lab work is always a treat. They know you by name.
  • When you hear the term “A1C” you think of steak sauce and hamburgers.
  • You don’t know anyone else with diabetes.

The Teenage Years

  • If you’re low, it’s a nuisance, and you have to stop what you’re doing and take a break to feed it. Not always ideal when you’re being paid hourly at a part-time job.
  • Whatever is fast and convenient is the best snack in the world.
  • You hardly notice when your blood sugar is high. Until it makes you feel awful. Then it is all you notice.
  • Swimming still makes you go low.
  • Visiting the cute nurses on the Pediatric floor at the hospital when you’re there for lab work is still a treat. Other floors are acceptable as well, as long as there are cute nurses. You know THEM by name.
  • When you hear the term “A1C,” you also hear words like “goal” and “lower.” Those cute nurses are a good distraction.
  • You’ve heard of other people with diabetes, but you still don’t know anyone that has it.

The Last Ten Years

  • If you’re low, your CGM alarms and you drop everything and treat it. Except when you have low-brain and can’t seem to focus. Then it becomes more of a struggle, and is sometimes followed by a hangLOWver.
  • Cheese, nuts, and other low carb foods are the best snacks in the world.
  • Because you are in better control of your diabetes, you can feel a high blood sugar in the upper 100’s now. 200+ makes you feel like dog’s ass.
  • Swimming still makes you go low, and now you have to replace a pump site when you get done because the sticky doesn’t stay stuck in the water. You are able to ride a bike for over 100 miles in one day. You’ve discovered OTHER activities that have the same effect as swimming on your BG’s, and are just as much fun.
  • Visiting the cute nurses, wherever you can find them, has become a rarity. Now you mostly settle for Helga, the former wrestler with the mustache and gallon sized syringe and harpoon needle to do your lab work. She knows you as a number.
  • When you hear the term “A1C,” you start thinking all about decimal pointed numbers like 5.6 and 6.5.
  • You meet an amazing community of people online and in real life who also have diabetes. You start a blog, and start sharing your life with diabetes. They inspire you.

The Next Ten Years

  • Your diabetes is tightly controlled, and you don’t have any of the complications that others who don’t take their diabetes seriously often suffer from.
  • You’re slim, fit, and eat right so that you’re able to do the things you love and experience the world. You look fantastic naked.
  • You accept that there will always be things that make you go low. You’re prepared for them, and never let diabetes keep you from being able to do anything that you set your mind to.
  • You have a family now, and your diabetes is not the center of the universe, but just a piece that helps explain your awesomeness during bedtime stories.
  • You vow to only have lab work done from cute nurses in the future. You have diabetes, so you deserve it.
  • Your doctor rarely mentions the term “A1C” anymore. He’s more interested in what awesome things you did in the last three months so that he has success stories to share with his other diabetes patients.
  • You continue to write about diabetes, speak about diabetes, advocate for diabetes research and better treatments, and share your world with diabetes. You challenge others to take control of their own diabetes, and cherish those stories of how you inspired someone else to save their own life.

Today, May 11, 2011 is my 30th Diaversary. Thank you all for being such an amazing part of it.

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West

 

NYC D-Meetup

Allison, Caroline, me, and Brenda at a May 2011 D-Meetup in New York City

Oh The Places You'll Go Low

Oh, The Places You’ll Go Low!

Thanks to a little help from Dr. Seuss, this is a story to me and so many others as a kiddo with diabetes.

Oh The Places You'll Go Low

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
But you’re awake, and afraid!

You have low brains in your head.
You have sticky feet in your shoes.
You can’t seem to steer yourself any direction you choose.
You feel all alone. And you know what you know. And YOU need SOMEONE to know that you’re LOW!

You lay there in wet sheets. Thinking over with care. About next time you say, “I’ll remember to have glucose right there.” With your head full of low brains and your shoes full of sticky feet, you’re too clumsy to make it to the kitchen to eat.

And you may not find any snacks sitting around. In that case, of course, you’ll cry out and growl. It’s easier when stuff is right there.

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people just as low-brainy and sticky-footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. And drink you some juice.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go Low!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be doing alright!
You’ll do a quick blood test and everything will be fine.

You won’t be all shaky, because you’ll have what you need. You’ll keep up with the world and you’ll soon take the lead. Whatever you eat, you’ll dose it the best. Wherever you go, will be with less stress.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that birthday parties and pizza can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a high blood sugar perch. Pause, and you’ll realize, you feel like you could lurch.

You’ll come down from the perch with an unpleasant tumble. And the chances are, then, that you’ll overdose and stumble.

And when you’re on the glucoaster, you’re not in for much fun. Un-stumbling yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the guilt is so harsh. Diabetes is like that. It can get very dark. A place you could stay in and feel like you can’t win! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a low-brained mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a chance to go or a thought to come, or a sound to make or the cry to come, or the door to open or the phone to ring, or the light to come on or waiting around for a Mom or Dad or waiting for the world to slow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the apple to eat or waiting for juice to kick in or waiting around for the night when waiting will end, when low-brain will subside, and sanity will return, or you can stop focusing on things you must learn, or another chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the strength to rise up and stop praying. For one brief moment, you are strong! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re not ready to die!

Oh, the places you’ll go low! There is fun to be done! There are carbs to be scored. There are alarms to be silenced. And the magical things you can do with the DOC will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win an awesome A1C.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All alone!
Whether you like it or not, alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though diabetes may prowl. On you will go though the CGM howls. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your pump sites may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that life’s a Great Blood Sugar Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right sites with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(You’ve got an army of people with diabetes who agree!)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Martin or Jacquie or Kerri or Scott…you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
No lows, no waiting.
So…get on your way!

Package Inspector

Rewards and the Shrinking Waistline

Today was a day of rewards, a chance to recharge my batteries, and a disconnect from the ever present list of things that need to be done.

HAWMC - Day 9

The #HAWMC blog post challenge for today is an unstructured “Health Activist Choice.” I’m good with lack of structure. I like being left to my own devices and given free reign to figure things out on my own. It may not be necessarily what I’m supposed to be figuring out, but a little freedom to wander and wonder appeals to the adventurer in me, and I always end up somewhere interesting.

My day today was a lot like that. I got to sleep in a bit, which was nice (and unusual). Having the option to sleep in is one thing that I can appreciate about having an insulin pump. Back in my multiple daily injections (MDI) days, I can remember absolutely HAVING to get up so that I could take my morning insulin dose. It’s nice having options, and something I try to never take for granted.

I got some fun things in the mail that I had ordered, which I wasn’t expecting until next week sometime. Squirt the Cat especially enjoyed giving the package a proper inspecting, and enjoying the delightful smells that it must have picked up along its travels from wherever it came from to our house.

Package Inspector

"All your boxes are belong to me!"

Inside were new shorts for summer, which included (free of charge) just a touch of disappointment. Having shifted to a low carb eating lifestyle, I’ve lost a touch more than ten pounds so far, and the shorts I ordered were just slightly too big. Amazing the difference a week makes, back when I ordered the correct size. Oh well, shrink & be merry.

As I’m losing weight and eating low carb, I don’t need as much insulin to keep things level. I’ve decreased my basal rates overall by about 5-10% so far to keep from running too low. Also to prevent over or under correcting for meals, I have to be more accurate in my SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) bolusing, and estimate the amount of carbs as closely as possible. I’m not following Dr. Bernstein‘s diet specifically (and I admit, I haven’t even finished reading his book yet), but eating low carb definitely agrees with my diabetes. At least, it agrees with my not having post-meal BG spikes, which is great since I hate being high. I’m continuing to make slight adjustments to ward off the lows, so that’s still a work in progress. But honestly, what isn’t a work in progress with diabetes?

The rest of the day I spent with friends watching baseball. Even though both of my teams lost, I still had a great time.

Today reminded me that we need a day every once in awhile (more often if you can get it) to do some things we enjoy. If that is sleeping in, shopping for shorts that sort of fit if you tighten the belt enough, or going to baseball games, it’s important to unplug from all the daily stresses (even diabetes) for a few moments.

I’m already looking forward to next Saturday, when my adventure continues…

Question

Questioning Diabetes

I have questions about it every single day. People without it have questions. People who are new to it have questions. Parents of children with it have questions. Everybody wants to know…what’s up with diabetes?

HAWMC - Day 8

The #HAWMC blog post challenge for today is to “write a poem where every line is a health question.” Because diabetes often has no rhyme or reason, I figure my poem full of questions should be somewhat similar in lack of sense. I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone new to diabetes, and all the questions that must come with being diagnosed, whether you are an independent adult, a parent, or even a child. So here goes…

QUESTIONING DIABETES

What is this thing called diabetes?
And what is with all of these Types?
My doctor says I should be grateful, but why do I still want to gripe?

What is the deal with these numbers?
And what do they all really mean?
I log all this data for everything, but why am I sucking at winning?

Why are my hands so shaky?
And why do I feel awfully drab?
I’m learning that this is low blood sugar, so where are my glucose tabs?!

Why am I peeing near constant?
And why do my thoughts feel like they’re in Jell-O?
If this is what high really feels like, can I just tell it to go on to hell-o?

Does anyone ever get the hang of this?
And will it haunt me the rest of my life?
Or will I be able to do everything I’ve ever dreamed of still…maybe even do it twice?

Question

Photo by SMJJP (Flickr)