Taking a Break But Not Forever

Much has changed since I started this blog on September 11, 2013. My nonfiction grad school cohort can tell you how much I didn’t want to write about diabetes for my MFA thesis – the book that became the start to this blog. And in the six years since I’ve been diagnosed, I am still learning new things about myself with this disease.

I wanted to share those experiences with the world and contribute to a community of Type 1s. And maybe I wanted to prove to myself that I could manage life given this short end of the stick. What I didn’t expect when I started this blog back in 2013 was where it would take me and what kind of content my readers would inspire me to write.

I cannot tell you much I value your readership and support these past two years. You are the reason I keep this blog going. You are the reason I continue to write. And although this blog has kept me writing and contributing to this online community, I must now re-focus my priorities and take what little time I have to write to devote to other publishing opportunities. Continue reading

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Say Hello To Cosmo, My New CGM

The vibrating wakes me up for the third time this night. It’s 3 a.m., and my new continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM) says my blood sugar reads 55. I know it’s a lie. I recently checked my blood sugar, and it was stable at 93. I have no active insulin in my system, but I just started this CGM, which I have decided to call “Cosmo,” and the nurse said it may take a few days to reflect my actual blood sugar. It’s a shame, but in the few weeks that I’ve had Cosmo, I still won’t give it up.

In the almost five years that I’ve had Type 1 diabetes, I’ve thought about investing in a CGM, which uses a sensor to monitor my blood sugar 24/7, but there can be a 20-minute delay since it’s reading my glucose levels from the interstitial fluid (a thin layer of fluid that surrounds the body’s cells), as opposed to a glucometer that reads it from a blood sample. I’ve always erred on the hypoglycemic side – two seizures in my short history as a result.

But in addition to the added expense of a CGM (my health insurance history has not been very consistent), I didn’t know if I wanted a 24/7 reminder of my diabetes. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to know how much two pieces of bread or pasta or ice cream affected my blood sugar in the three hours I didn’t check it with my glucometer. Even though by the time that three-hour period had passed, my blood sugar returned to a normal state of 80-120, it didn’t mean that in that time, it hadn’t spiked to 300 and come back down. Did I really want to know that? Continue reading

The Ups and Downs of Lows

I’m driving my grandma’s formerly owned 1993 Geo Prizm down Taylorsville Road in the suburbs of Louisville, KY. My boyfriend at the time sits in the passenger seat rocking out to Blue October. We’ve seen them twice in concert, once at Louisville’s Fourth Street Live. We’re visiting my family for the weekend, just a few weeks after I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I will be the first in my family to graduate from college in Cincinnati in a few weeks.

I start to feel shaky and weak, but I don’t tell Reed. He recently shaved his head to mask his receding hairline at 22. His former football player fingers tap on his torn jeans. I focus on the yellow lines of the road. We’re only a mile from home – no reason to pull over. I can beat this. Come on Tracy, focus.

My peripheral vision goes fuzzy. Only half a mile now. I stop at the red light at the four-lane intersection of Taylorsville and Hurstbourne Lane. One moment of reprieve.

“Are you okay?” Reed asks, no longer whistling.

“I’m fine,” I say, still focused on the hazy yellow lines.

“You just seem really tense.”

“Let’s get back to my parents’ house, and I’ll explain.”

I pull into the three-car driveway, off to the side, in front of the rose bushes. I run into the one-level brick house. I am as much curious about the state of my blood sugar as I am worried. Reed finds me in my old bedroom, painted a faded blue.

“Whoa, 51,” I say, more out of amazement than concern.

“I don’t think I should have been driving,” I add, heading down the black and white tile hallway to the kitchen for some juice. I’m almost proud that I didn’t have an accident rather than regretful.

“Probably not,” Reed says, his eyebrows raised. Continue reading