No diabetes is perfect

Happy Monday! Well, hopefully yours was happy.. I know a lot of people who really dislike Mondays.. myself (usually) included. But I got to see my Mom for lunch, and it’s always nice getting one on one time with her. I love my family and am so thankful for the relationships I have with all of them. So even though I’m currently feeling a little sick, it’s still a happy Monday.

Remember my last post about taking the highs with the lows? Well, yesterday my blood sugar got to experience some pretty intense ones.. and man, I am still feeling it today. Why does high blood sugar have to take SO MUCH out of us? I fought with my pump all day yesterday, taking more insulin nearly every hour. I was stressed and had other issues going on, which I have to remember plays a part in high blood sugars; But it’s still beyond stressful when you just can’t seem to get it down.  I got really upset by the time 6:00 PM came around and my finger stick said 497.  Dexcom doesn’t even read above 400… so the finger stick was necessary. At that moment, truth be told I broke down and cried for a little bit.  I was embarrassed and apologizing, and then quickly reminded that sometimes crying for a little bit is okay, and not only okay but necessary.  The more you try to hide your emotions, the more you build them up and you are likely to burst all at once (like I did). I encourage you to talk to the ones you love with your feelings about diabetes every so often, vent to them, let it out.. and I bet you’ll be reminded how strong you are.

By the way, I took a screen shot of my 24 hour graph this morning around 7:00 AM.. here’s what yesterday looked like:

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The only reason I mentioned my older post about the highs and lows, is because despite my highs and lows (literally) yesterday and through this morning.. Look what today brought:

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Now this still isn’t perfect (is diabetes ever perfect?).. but it doesn’t look like as much of a roller coaster, and  I’ve had a MUCH better twelve hours than yesterday.  Also, I keep my “high alert” at 120.. so it’s not that crazy outside of the lines like the previous picture. This is what diabetes is… we have to take the good days with the bad days, and always remember tomorrow is a new day. Despite what your blood sugar may be doing, don’t let it get the best of you. It’s VERY important to take your insulin and check your blood sugars, don’t ever take a break from that (unfortunately, we just can’t). But it’s important to cut yourself some slack sometimes, and not be so hard on yourself.  I hadn’t eaten anything up until after noon yesterday.. and yet my sugar just kept rising. I literally did nothing to cause it, but I was so frustrated. I’m looking back realizing how poorly I handled that, and I could have been in a much better mood all day (despite not feeling very well) if I would have just breathed a little, and remembered everyday with diabetes is a challenge, and we just have to keep fighting, with all our might. A cure is coming..  I can’t promise you when, but it’s coming.  My doctor told me “let the technology take care of you, until we can cure you” and that really hit home. This technology is amazing, and so many great things for diabetics are in the works. So, keep your chin up, and your heart strong. Keep smiling, keep fighting.. and stay hopeful. Always stay hopeful.

“Every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind.”- Robert Louis Stevenson

-Chelsea, The hopeful Diabetic ❤

Taking the highs with the lows, and lows with the highs.

Now, this is a diabetic blog, so you probably assumed I meant the literal (blood sugar) highs and lows of a type 1, right? Wrong (well, this time..)!  I’m not going to get personal with details, but I had a roller-coaster of a week, both emotionally and physically. This is not for sympathy, or a “poor me” post, in fact, it’s just the opposite.

I’ll be the first one to admit, I haven’t always had a grip on my emotions or how to deal with them. One day I can be so happy, and the next, lethargic and “gloomy”. Obviously blood sugars and other things come into affect here too, because our blood sugar REALLY CAN affect our moods. We just can’t let it get the best of us. I used to swim in my sorrow on those sad/bad days, but I never tried to make myself feel better (after all, it’s only YOU who can ultimately choose to be happy, right?).  And that brings me to my favorite Andy Warhol quote:

“You have to be willing to get happy about nothing.”

All I’m trying to really say in this post is.. you have to take the highs with the lows. You have to know there will be great days, and not so great days. Just like there will be amazing days, and flat out horrible days (this applies to diabetes too). Don’t let those bad days get you down and keep you down.. (I’m talking from experience, because I let that happen to me for years). Everyday isn’t going to feel like a vacation to your favorite place, or visiting family, or doing whatever your favorite thing to do is..BUT, that does not make it a bad day. It’s just not the happiest one you’ve ever had. Find little things that you love, and find the things that make you happy, and surround yourself in them.  When you feel sad, get up and take a walk with your dog, write a poem, read  a book, cook something you’ve never made.. Don’t let one day get you down.  Just do something to distract your mind from the negativity- and remember this feeling is temporary. Which brings me to another quote my Dad told me my entire childhood:

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

I first heard that quote from my dad when my grandfather passed away when I was only 11, and couldn’t cope with his loss. And it stuck with me like glue.  I’ve also heard him say: “pain is inevitable, growth is optional” and I love both, though I think the first is the “correct” or “known” quote. I don’t feel I even really need to say more on those… The quote itself speaks volumes.

Find your balance! Find little things that  make you happy to help pull you out of your funk… (for me.. It’s writing. Before I started this blog I’d been writing poetry for years and years in a private journal). Not every day will feel like a movie, but it doesn’t have to feel like the worst day just because work was stressful, and you got a stain on your shirt, does it? If you have food in your stomach, and a place to sleep, (and of course  insulin in your system!) you’ve got it a lot better than a lot of people already, and I’d say you have a lot to be grateful for (even though I know, some days are truly just rotten).

This post may be irrelevant to many, but I’m hoping some can relate..because I’m just learning this at 24– to take the good with the bad, and the bad with the good.  It makes those good times extra special, and is a reminder in bad times that “this too shall pass”. NOTHING in life is permanent (hopefully not even our broken pancreases, my fellow diabuddies). Change is the only constant in life. Just remember that on those hard days, and most importantly.. stay hopeful

 

“Perhaps, without the lows, the highs could not be reached.”

 

 

-The Hopeful Diabetic

 

P.S- Have any of you guys heard of or been to the “Diabetes UnConference” in Vegas? There’s one in February, and one in October of 2017. I read about it last year and was unable to go.. but this year, I’ll officially be there and I’m so excited! If you want to read about it, click here. If you’ve ever been, I’d love to hear feedback and what you thought!

 

My best friend, Dex!

Who is Dex, you ask? Well.. Dex is my continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Also known as…Dexcom! (I know, I know.. my nickname for it is so original, right!? Man.. have you guys picked up on all my sarcasm yet?)

Anyway, my past two posts I’ve mentioned  Dexcom being a serious game changer for me and my life with type 1.. But I barely talked about it! So I had some responses asking why it was such a blessing for me, and if I could elaborate further. Well, OF COURSE I can, and I’m actually really excited about this! But first, I have to add that I am by no way getting paid for this. These are my own opinions and I want to answer your questions, from my personal experience. These are my honest words, thoughts, opinions, with my dexcom journey.  (See my disclaimer in my menu section)

“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end”- Robin Sharma

I struggled with the thought of getting another device to have to wear along with my insulin pump for a while, but I finally stopped being so vain about the idea, and realized it could benefit me.. so why not give it a “test run”? My endocrinologists office actually had one that I was able to wear and use for a week to see if I liked it. Well, after about 4 hours of wearing it…. I was sold. Seriously! Now I’ll tell you why…

I was not only able to see my blood sugar from my phone (updated every 5 minutes) but I was ALSO able to see if it was going up, down, or stable (there’s an up arrow, a DOUBLE up arrow, a slanted up arrow, a sideways arrow, a slanted down arrow, down arrow, and DOUBLE down arrow). You know how sometimes you do a finger stick, and say it’s…. 104. A great reading, right? But.. with dexcom, I can look at my phone, see that it’s not only 104, but it has DOUBLE ARROWS DOWN! What does this mean? I’m likely able to stop a bad low blood sugar before it gets.. well, a lot worse. Sometimes, I don’t even feel that I’m low, and all of a sudden my phone is alarming URGENT LOW (which is below 55) and I’m at 43, or lower (I don’t personally always feel my lows, and I feel that it’s saved my life before.. game changer, right!?). It’s the same if you prick your finger and see it’s 127. That’s a good reading, but what if you saw it was 127, with two “double up” arrows?! This tells me, I need to take insulin, or make sure I have enough “on board” to avoid going too high.. (and feeling like I was hit by a train).

Dexcom doesn’t replace finger sticks, but you do only have to calibrate twice a day, and that’s A LOT LESS than all the finger sticks in one day (especially if it’s a roller-coaster high and low type of day).

In 9 years, I was never able to know what my blood sugar was doing at any given moment through out the day.. I never knew if it was going up or down when I tested. Even with the pump changing my life back in 2014, dexcom and the pump working together made it WAY tighter control  for me, that I would have never accomplished  myself without it. I got my best A1C EVER with dexcom, and I can’t imagine life without it now.  In a weird way, it’s like this game on my phone that I want to “beat” so to speak. I can see what  my numbers are doing (going up or down) and take a little insulin, or suspend a little insulin here and there depending on what it’s doing. It also allows up to 5 followers on phones. My Dad follows me and is always quick to call or text and make sure I’m alright when he gets a “low” notification (since these can be life threatening if not treated). You can personalize the settings and they really only get alerted if I’m going too low (at my age, I can tackle the highs on my own, but don’t always feel the lows coming).

It’s been an amazing experience for me, and I’ll never not have a CGM again. My A1C went from a 12.2 to a 9 in 1 month, and in 3 months was down to a 6.6. Life changing enough!?!

They’re technically only FDA approved for 7 days as of now (the new ones will be 10 days, and only 1 calibration a day) but I’ve gotten 30 days with my best sensor, and have heard of others in dexcom groups I follow getting even more than that (they are a dry site, unlike a pump, so there’s not so much risk for infection if you wear it a while). I use a certain kind of tape with mine to help keep it on longer and it works great for me!

I’ll wrap this up, and remind you guys to please comment with any questions, or email me via the contact section on my menu. I hope this did answer some questions you had, and I’m happy to answer more! I really and truly appreciate and welcome all and any feedback, and have to thank you guys again for reading, and for all the love and support!

Lastly, I ask you to PLEASE sign this petition to help make insulin more affordable to EVERYONE. No mother should have to sacrifice her insulin to make sure her kid has enough, and no kid or adult should have to go without for ANY reason. Insulin is NOT an option, it is our life support.. literally. This is a petition with the American Diabetes Association, and here is what they have to say about it :

“The average price of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years—nearly tripling between 2002 and 2013. We’re calling for immediate action to make this lifesaving medication affordable for everyone who needs it. We’re asking all entities in the insulin supply chain to increase transparency and to ensure that no one is denied access to insulin, and we’re calling on Congress to hold hearings to identify the reasons for the dramatic increases in insulin prices and take action. Join us by signing our petition”:

Click here to sign the petition! It takes 45 seconds!

-Chelsea…The Hopeful Diabetic

P.S — You may have noticed… New Domain/Name, but same me, same blog! 🙂  I should have researched more before just up and creating and starting my website, but I changed my domain to be more original. Bare with me guys, I’m just getting the hang of things!

“Life is not about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

Hello, and happy Saturday! I’m going to dive right in.. I always actually liked this quote, but could never truly relate to it.. until now.  (Incase you haven’t caught on yet.. I really like quotes. So expect to see one at the beginning or end of.. well, likely everything I post.) Bare with me, I’ll get back to this.

After being diagnosed at age 15, I felt pretty lost for a while, along with many, many other emotions. I was angry, I was sad.. I felt like my body had completely failed me. I was confused, I didn’t understand. I mean.. One day I’m a typical sophomore in high school, drinking Vanilla sprite from Sonic nearly everyday, and the next I’m told I can only have sugar free drinks (by the way this isn’t actually true for type 1’s, I can technically have a sugar drink if I WANT .. it would just be a LOT of insulin and I chose not to- but don’t you dare tell a type 1 they cannot have sugar) , and will need to take a shot every time I eat for the rest of my life (um, WHAT!?).   My whole world turned upside down in a matter of days.. I don’t think being depressed at the time was totally unusual (scratch that, I KNOW it wasn’t).. and truth be told I still have days I struggle to overcome that feeling.

I believe they called it “situational depression” .. when I heard that, I’m willing to bet I rolled my eyes, and my response was something like “well who wouldn’t be depressed if they JUST found out they will have this disease and be stabbing themselves with needles for the rest of their life?” (Am I right, Mom & Dad?) “It’s normal” said all the doctors.. feeling sad or depressed is 100% NORMAL. And I stand by that today..whether you were just diagnosed, or you’ve been living with this for 20+ years.  Yet.. I was still so embarrassed by it at the time, and I didn’t/wouldn’t talk about it. Instead I  stored that pain and that hurt, and that feeling of embarrassment in the back of my mind, and tried to deal with it all by myself.  If you read my previous post, you know that didn’t end well for me.. I fought with my parents, I didn’t take care of myself, and there’s a lot of stuff I wish I would have done differently… and here is why I’m writing today!

There is nothing wrong with seeking help, and being vulnerable and honest with somebody who can truly give you their best advice. For some reason, I just wouldn’t do it. I wish I would have, I imagine I wouldn’t have gone though a lot of the things I did if I would’ve had someone to share my “deepest and darkest” thoughts and secrets with someone medically trained to give me the best advice they can. I was just too scared. But of what? Probably of what they would tell me.. That I couldn’t keep living that way, that it was unhealthy, that I would lose limbs or go blind.. they would tell me everything I’d already heard from doctors, parents, and friends (by the way, if you’re not diabetic.. I beg you not to tell your diabetic friend about your moms friend or your whoever who WAS diabetic .. we hear enough dark stories, I promise, please don’t add to the list.. we know the consequences). I was scared to talk to someone- because I knew I wasn’t trying my hardest on my end (actually, I was hardly trying at all). I was scared of having to actually admit to that, and take action, and take responsibility and get my life back in order. So I didn’t. Please note, this is not me persuading you to go see a professional. I do however encourage you to just think about it  IF you or your kid/friend/ whoever you know with diabetes is having a hard time accepting this disease on a day to day basis. I really could have used someone to open up to those teen years, and my parents really really tried, I just wasn’t interested, and like I said.. ultimately was just terrified because I knew I wasn’t taking care of myself and I  wasn’t ready to admit that yet.

At 24, I’ve finally accepted that my diabetes is a part of me- and probably both my favorite and least favorite part of me at that. I wouldn’t be who I am today without everything being type 1 has put me through. I might have a working pancreas.. but I wouldn’t have the strength, perseverance,   and “it’ll pass” mindset that I’m so thankful for today. I’m not perfect, (actually, I’m FAR FAR FAR from perfect) but I like the person I’ve grown to become today. It’s been quite a journey to get here.

When I wrote my first post, a little over a week ago.. I had no idea how good it would feel (while at the same time absolutely terrifying) to share my story and be honest and vulnerable about everything.. and there’s still so much more I can elaborate on. I wanted to thank all of you, for the nice comments whether on the blog, via Facebook, or e-mail… I am truly humbled and overwhelmed with the positive feedback and encouragement.. and it’s so nice to talk with other diabetics like YOU.  Two days after my first blog post, I did the step out walk to stop diabetes. It was heart wrenching to see how many people, but especially kids were wearing red hats (if you were a diabetic participating in the walk- you got a “red strider” hat).  This disease has got to end, guys.  Not for my sake, but for all those kids, for the struggling teenagers, for the adults who’ve just had enough, and for the poor babies not even born yet, it’s got to stop.  I encourage you to look into volunteering for your local JDRF  (go to the website and sign up and they’ll send you an email within a couple days) or ANY charity for T1D.  I cannot tell you how good it feels to give back, step up, and just tell your story and talk with others going through the same thing. I’ve actually had this conversation recently with a fellow type 1 diabetic that I had the pleasure to “meet” via a diabetes (Dexcom and Omnipod users) Facebook group we were both in! Actually, he and his wife and friends who also deal with type 1 in their life, have started a Facebook page to support families battling type 1 AND they’re doing fun events and activities to raise funds for T1D. How cool!? They’re in Charlotte, NC if you happen to be in that area! Either way, you should go check out and support their Facebook page “Families Fighting Type 1” (FFT1) . I hear they will have a website soon as well, so stay tuned!

If you want to simply interact with other type 1 diabetics, of any age, you should (if you haven’t already) check out tudiabetes.com .. they have so many forums, blogs, chatrooms, anything and everything a person with any type of diabetes, can benefit from.  When I first heard of it back in 2013, I went in the chat room almost daily and it was nice to be able to login at any given time and have people right there knowing what you’re going through. Also, another great charity, aside from JDRF that has recently caught my attention is “Beyond Type 1”. They’re newer to the game, but go check out their website and their new app! There’s even a place to sign up for “snail mail” with another diabetic somewhere in the world (you can choose your preference on male/female, and if you’d like them to be younger, same age, or older).  You enter a few things about yourself (or your child) and they’ll match you with someone, and in a matter of weeks you’ll have a starter kit in your mailbox! Pretty neat, I’d say. They encourage to donate and pay for your kit, but you CAN get it at no cost. I would have LOVED this when I was 15! I just want to add, these are all my honest opinions and I’m in no way being paid or sponsored, I’m simply just talking these places up because they truly are great. So check them out! My biggest regret is not getting involved in the diabetes community sooner.

I got a little off track there, but diabetes is hard, we get no breaks, EVER!.. and sometimes, we just need to be reminded that we’re not alone.

Now back to my original quote.. way up there at the top (sorry, can you tell I really like to write!?). As I stated up in the first real paragraph.. my diagnosis had me feeling lost.. and if we’re being honest, I don’t even know that I knew “who I was” a year ago. Ever since I got Dexcom CGM back in April it’s been truly life changing, getting to know myself again (without a foggy mind and no high blood sugars messing with my moods). I’ve been trying this whole time to “find myself again”.. well, last week after my first post, I was reassured.. Life really isn’t about finding yourself…It IS about creating yourself. It’s about becoming WHOEVER and WHATEVER you want to be. As for me, that’s this. Writing, sharing my stories, advocating for diabetes. THIS is what I want. Whether I have 2 readers, or 2,000.. I will keep writing. I will keep sharing my stories, and I will keep advocating.  And I will continue to enjoy doing so. (If you’d like to be e-mailed when I post again, be sure and click “follow”- and thank you in advance!)

Stay strong my fellow diabuddies, and hugs to all you parents with “type 1 default diabetes”, as I like to call it- you know their struggle, and you fight that fight every day with them, in a way, you have it (by default) even though your pancreas may be fine.

Okay, I have to add one last thing… I have had music playing on a shuffle in the background, and as I’m wrapping this blog post up I hear “even the best fall down sometimes” .. Take that for what you will. Just remember that it’s okay to “fall down” as long as you get back up and keep fighting the good fight!

 

-Chelsea, The hopeful diabetic ❤

 

 

PS-  I have a lot of things I know I want to write about. But I’d also love to know if there’s anything you’d like to know about or read. Anything! (Whether it’s how I personally control my sugars, things I wish I knew then, my favorite carb free snacks.. or if you’re a parent with a T1 kid, maybe anything you’d like to know from my parents, etc.. you get the point) Comment, or email me privately through the contact section because I’d love to hear feedback. And if you made it this far….. breathe, it’s over. Thank you for hanging in there, and thank you so much for reading!  🙂