A few years ago, Norm (my six-year-old brown and black tabby) developed severe allergies that resulted in excessive biting and licking of his skin. We put him on a series of steroid treatments to relieve the itch and help the wounds heal until his allergy shots have a chance to kick in (which could take 12-18 months).
The only downside to so much steroid exposure? It increases his risk of developing diabetes. When I learned this vital information, I looked down at Norm and said, “Sorry, bud. We can only have one diabetic in this family.”
Fortunately, Norm has not developed diabetes. But that doesn’t mean the rest of my family has been so lucky. In the nine years I’ve had Type 1, I’ve watched friends and family endure the trials that come with gestational diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
For a quick refresher: Continue reading
Last week my pod expired at work. You know my pod as Gizmo 2.0 – a wireless insulin pump that helps me manage my blood sugar levels and keeps me alive. It will always alert me to its pending expiration date by two consistent beeps … four hours… two hours… oh and it has less than 10 units left… one hour… expired.
I rarely let it hit that expiration mark, but that’s mainly to prevent the one long annoying beep (similar to when an EKG goes flat) that literally requires me to use a hammer to smash the pod until it stops (yes, I’ve done this – inserting a pen into the pod to deactivate this sound has never worked).
I have back-up supplies at my work desk (I like to be prepared). And even though I carry a vial of insulin with me and an extra pod, I failed to carry any alcohol swabs. I use these to wipe the dirt and grime from my skin before inserting the pod for a three-day life cycle. But this is an office, so I checked the first aid drawer in the kitchen (underneath the drawer with the ladles, who would have thought?) and found some hydrogen peroxide. It would have to do (three days later I ended up with a rash on my skin where the pod had been so note to self: hydrogen peroxide is not a good alternative). Continue reading
Well, this is not the “last” one. But I have finally come to the end of my 30 Days With Diabetes series. It went by fast. And I want to thank you for sticking with it and for supporting my blog with your readership. It means a lot.
I started this series to make a daily commitment to my writing and re-connect with you – the online community, who have enabled me to maintain this blog and feel less alone living with an incurable chronic condition. The posts that resonated the most with you – diabulimia research, blood sugar mayhem, eating, dating, sleep, fathers and acetaminophen (essentially the sum of our lives) – will continue to astound me.
But I hope you learned something. I certainly did. I loved experimenting with form, style, humor and vulnerability. And apparently, I have a lot to say – some positive and some negative. But isn’t that what life is all about? Continue reading
I’m constantly being alerted by my diabetes devices. It’s amazing I haven’t been conditioned to tune them out. Sometimes, the beeps annoy the hell out of me, and I yell at these devices with little to no effect.
So, what’s with all the beeps? And why do I keep certain alerts on, even to the detriment of office cube mates and dinner companions? Some of these alerts literally save my life. Others just keep me in check. Each alert is different, and over time, I’ve learned exactly what each type of beep or alarm means. But that’s hard to explain in words so instead, I’ll just give a quick summation of what I may be alerted to when you hear an odd sound emitting from my bag. Continue reading
Because my body isn’t ever operating at 100 percent (with blood sugar mayhem and all), I am more prone to illness and infection (gotta get that flu shot). Today, I ended up at urgent care with one such infection. Antibiotics will cure it, but let’s just say I’m not at my best right now. And this is not how I had intended to start my long weekend.
But maybe it’s what I needed? I’m not saying I appreciate being sick. I certainly would have loved to have gotten some sleep last night and spend my day catching up on some creative endeavors. But I have been pushing my limits these past two weeks, and even I recognize it’s time to re-evaluate my priorities and how I’m spending my time.
I need balance. I constantly feel like I’m playing catch-up. So, my body is forcing me to slow down. I’m listening. Continue reading
I was about to go to bed when I realized I haven’t posted today. I’m on Day 27 – it would be almost comical to miss a day now.
But the truth is I’m tired of talking about my diabetes. Yes, I have a book and a blog devoted to it. And yes, I live it every day, but if this series has taught me anything, it’s that I am more than my diabetes.
For years after I was diagnosed, I was terrified to try new things. Just this past year, I went whitewater rafting for the first time. And I recently got my passport renewed because I’m considering traveling abroad again. Continue reading
So even though my CGM says my blood sugar has been around 170-190, when I got home tonight I checked it and realized it was 294.
And while I may be actually hungry, the truth is my hunger may only be attributed to my high blood sugar. And since I picked up sushi from Whole Foods (which tends to be full of carbs), I can’t realistically eat it until my blood sugar comes down. So I sit here and stare at my food and wish for a different life.
This post is part of my 30 Days With Diabetes series.
Tonight, I decided I would take the night off – from work, freelance, writing, social obligations and yes, even diabetes. I noticed the tape holding my continuous glucose monitor sensor on was coming off and made a mental note to replace that tape so I could make it through the next two days until I changed my sensor (this is attached to my butt, by the way).
So rather than work out when I got home or prepare for a date or a social excursion with a friend, I had a glass of bourbon and watched one of my favorite films, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. It was a most enjoyable evening. Norm even joined and slept through the festivities for a bit.
Because sometimes as much as I know I need to reflect on things or re-evaluate the priorities in my life, I need a break. I need a night where I can just be. To be honest, I don’t believe in an afterlife, and even though I constantly question the point to this existence, I want to enjoy it. And if I can’t find joy during the most tumultuous times, I know I won’t survive. So even when I’m at my worst, I look for those little glimpses of joy and remember that I can be happy, wherever I may be and whatever disease I may carry. Continue reading
Last night, I almost broke down in tears – the first of many signs that I’m stressed, maxed out and putting undue pressure on myself. It’s been a busy few weeks, to say the least.
A little more than nine years ago, I also felt broken. I was preparing to graduate college, move out on my own and start working full-time. And then I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
While lying in a hospital bed next to syringes and vials of saline solution (for practice), I remember telling my mom how much I had on my plate and that I didn’t have time for “this” – this being my newfound life partner, diabetes. In so many words, my mom replied: “Tracy, this is your life now. You can’t ignore it.” Continue reading
I didn’t use to talk about my diabetes. I figured folks didn’t want to hear about it. I also didn’t want it to become a part of my every day.
But when I started this blog, I realized it is a part of my every day. No, it’s not my only identity and as someone so recently reminded me: it is not the most interesting thing about me.
I am more than Type 1 diabetes. I have 22 years that confirm this. By talking about it, I help to educate others about its existence and effects, but the truth is I write and talk about it to feel less alone. Continue reading