I stretch my legs and sprint down the paved path along the four-lane highway in Silver Spring, Maryland. The sun sets behind me, and the bugs eat at my exposed calves, but I relish this 70-degree temperature. After 5 miles of gravel pathways, wooden bridges, and cracked sidewalks, I only have one more uphill battle of this last mile to conquer.
And then my speed starts to wane. I can’t seem to muster the strength to push myself harder even on this decline. Something feels off. My muscles are tired and weak, and my heart rate is accelerated past the point of normal. I stop at the next intersection, and as the stoplight turns red, I look down at the phone strapped to my right bicep.
Low glucose alert – my Dexcom app reads. Continue reading
Today a doctor put a scalpel to the skin beneath my left bicep. She removed another birth control method, the last I will try for a while. And although the implant was the best I’ve had, after about six months, it interfered with a cycle that should come natural, and the consequences no longer seemed worth it.
Oh the things we women must endure.
But this isn’t just about reproductive rights for women. It’s about the child I am not ready to bring into this world. I am a Type 1 diabetic. I would not take reproduction lightly normally, but with a chronic disease that could do irreparable developmental damage if I’m not monitoring it carefully enough, I especially do not take it lightly.
After the application of a burning numbing agent, the doctor pierced my skin and opened the wound. I watched with a side view anxious to have this hole repaired. I knew I was making the right decision for myself and my body but I couldn’t help but be abhorred by the whole procedure. What was I doing to myself?
She used her gloved fingers to dig around beneath the skin, and what seemed like seconds turned into minutes. How big is this thing? She asked for help from her assistant. Is it stuck inside me? Will I never be free of this thing that can’t be more than the size of a blunt razor blade? But then I realized she was removing scar tissue from the implant. After all, it had been in my body for almost a year.
And then it was out. As thin as a paper clip, it was no bigger than my pinky finger. And to think of all the hassle that tiny strip caused. Incredible. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about getting Norm a girlfriend or boyfriend (I’m leaning more towards boyfriend). Even though my roommate and I each work from home once a week (on different days), Norm has not been pleased with the 8+ hours he may spend alone each day (or at least that’s what his increased “launch attack” initiatives tell me).
And let’s be honest. This apartment is a kitten’s paradise. Norm can spend hours rolling around on the carpet, chasing his tail around the living room, hopping from chair to couch to table and back again, and climbing a vast array of window sills. In addition he likes to spend his days sunning in his tree or hiding on a shelf in one of two walk-in closets. He spends his evenings catching hair ties and mini soccer balls or dragging his “bird on a wire” toy from the closet archway to mom’s bed. Continue reading
His name is Gizmo. He’s a small thing, about the size of a pager, with charcoal skin…. Gizmo and I are attached by a long string, like an umbilical cord. He’s constantly pumping insulin. Sometimes, he moves to the comforts of my small stomach rolls. Sometimes, he rides along my back. He doesn’t enjoy the hard surface of my legs, and it feels uncomfortable when I tuck him under my arm.
Many of you may remember when Gizmo and I first met or you may remember this short introduction from my book Sugarcoated. But I first met Gizmo back in March of 2012 when I went from injecting myself with pens and needles every day to the transformative wonders of an insulin pump. With Gizmo I never had another hypoglycemic seizure, and I was better able to function on a daily basis without diabetes getting in the way.
But recently I wrote about possibly saying goodbye to Gizmo and introducing a new type of insulin delivery system into my life. Well just a few days ago I took that step. Continue reading
A few days ago I moved out of an 850-square apartment into a 1250-foot one. I was paying $1,000 a month for that 850-square apartment (utilities included) with a roommate. I moved with that same roommate (also one of my best friends). There were times when I would get down on myself in DC thinking of how much I thought I had failed. And then I would remember that I had a roof over my head, that I wasn’t always living paycheck to paycheck (when my medical insurance or my health wasn’t being annoying), and that technically I was living comfortably.
And then I moved.
What the fuck was I talking about?
I mean sure I could buy a house somewhere in this country for the amount I am spending on rent but would I make the same amount of money elsewhere? I have to admit my job pays pretty well for the work I’m doing. It’s amazing the difference 400-square feet can make.
Let’s make some bullet points. Continue reading
I’ve been in a bit of a reflective mood lately. Could be because I just returned from vacation, am preparing to move apartments, or the fact I recently bought an adult coloring book (which oh my god I love! how did it take me so long to invest in one of these?). Anyway often when life changes are happening and I’m feeling particularly doubtful, I look back to an old post I wrote back in 2013 when I was commuting five hours a day from Baltimore to Bethesda and nearing the end of a four-year relationship.
I never published it but I feel the sentiments ring true. Just like tonight when I was coloring inside these insanely detailed lines from my new coloring book, my fingers started to hurt but I kept coloring because I needed to see my ideas visualized and because I knew however hard it was it would make me happy.
Just Be Brave (December 2013)
I retweeted a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert yesterday that went something like this: “Met a woman tonight who said, ‘Just because a decision makes you sad doesn’t mean it was the wrong one.’ Things I wish I’d known at 25 …” Continue reading
As much as I love Gizmo, I’m kind of tired of my insulin pump. I know, I know, I shouldn’t complain. Having a $6,000 piece of equipment attached to me 24/7 has been an immense help in the management of my disease over the past four years.
But I am starting to understand why fellow Type 1 diabetics take a break from the pump every now and then and sometimes forever. It’s not easy having something attached to you 24/7. Right now I carry three devices around with me to manage my disease: my insulin pump (aka Gizmo), my continuous glucose monitoring receiver (aka Cosmo), and my glucometer. That doesn’t count my phone.
Gizmo is about the size of a pager. I usually conceal it clipped to my bra strap or waistline of my skirt or pants. The clip is currently taped together with duct tape, and the Medtronic label is practically worn away. I’ve had Gizmo for four and a half years. I’ve only had to replace it once when the battery container froze shut. For the most part I have no complaints.
But lately I’ve been more annoyed with Gizmo than happy. Take for example: Continue reading