Wimps

8 07 2012

Stumbled across online. The bee provides cooling and vibrating sensations so kids don’t feel pain (and don’t throw a tantrum) at the doctor’s office when they get a finger stick. Here’s the link. I got it off StumbleUpon.

Seriously?

The average person has, I don’t know, maybe 10 finger sticks in their lifetime.

Try 10 a day. 7 days a week. 4 weeks a month. 12 months a year. Every year until death.

Do I need a bumblebee to soothe me when I get a finger stick?

No.

Did I need one when I was diagnosed at 14 months?

No.

Did I deal with the pain?

Yes.

Do I deal with the pain every day?

Yes.

Do I ever cry, whine, fuss, or throw a tantrum?

No.

Do people acknowledge my strength?

Rarely.

Rather, do people judge, exclude, or stereotype me for being diabetic?

Yes.

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Assertion and Karma.

16 06 2012

Yesterday, I graduated from high school. After graduation, my school has “Project Graduation” where they send the graduates to an indoor water park from 10 pm until 5 am the next morning. At first, I was hesitant about going. I’m not a big fan of water parks to begin with and adding diabetes into the mix just makes water parks into one big hassle. I thought there would be other things to do besides go in the water and since it is the last chance to do something as a class before we move separate ways, I decided on going. My friend even agreed on not going in the water with me.

I carpool to the school with my two best friends. The bus assignments were first come, first served, so in order to be on the same bus, my friends and I had to get in line at the same time. Inside the school, the chaperons were doing a bag check. They told us to go to an available table and hurry up, rather than holding up the line. Thus, my 2 best friends and I were all at separate tables to get our bags checked.

As the woman is fishing through my drawstring bag, I’m rehearsing my diabetes explanations in my head that I have memorized and perfected oh so well over the years. They ignore my lancing device and my blood glucose meter, probably because they don’t know what they are and assume they’re not a threat. I think I’m in the clear when the woman pulls out my emergency applesauce from my bag. I usually opt for applesauce to bring my blood glucose level up because it’s easy to swallow and tastes so damn good. I don’t need water with it, like I would if I brought chalky glucose tabs with me everywhere.

She says, “you’re not allowed to have this,” with a puzzled expression on her face as to why a student would “break” the rules by bringing applesauce.

I open my mouth, ready to deliver my monologue. “I’m diabetic.”

She then asked, “do you have paperwork?” in an accusatory tone, assuming I’m a lying rebel trying to sneak applesauce on the bus.

Thinking she caught me red-handed, I then throw her a curveball. “I have a 504 plan.”

Still frustrated with me she sighs and says, “well you’re going to have to talk to a nurse.”

To which I reply, “Why? It’s just glucose, and I need it in case my blood sugar gets low and it’s not like it’s medicine or anything.”

Then she replies, “well you are not allowed to bring food on this trip so you’re going to have to talk to a nurse.”

I scan the hallway for my friends who are probably anxiously waiting for me to get the hell over there. My friend shows me a blue wristband around her wrist. “Are you on the blue bus?”

I look at mine. “Crap, they put me on green.”

I turn back to the woman, who clearly isn’t letting me go and is obviously getting an ego trip by getting to boss around a helpless teen with a chronic disease. “So where’s the nurse?”

She pauses, thinks, and says, “there is no nurse on this trip.”

I roll my eyes. “So can I go?”

Another chaperon comes over and tells her that since it’s in a sealed container, I’m allowed to have it.

Finally.

I then walk down the hall, hoping to find friends on my bus.

One of the chaperons looks at my wrist and frantically says, “You’re on green. Hurry up, the bus is already leaving. Why didn’t you get on when we told you to?”

I roll my eyes and jog outside to find the bus still being loaded. Thankfully, two of my friends, one that I came with, one that I didn’t, were on this bus. I tell them what happened and my cheery, just-graduated, vibe had turned to a pissed-off diabetic vibe.

The bus ride was around an hour long.

As we’re getting towards the end of the bus rise, I realize that I’m feeling a little low. I pull out my kit, test, and sure enough 34 mg/dL.

Ready to claw the eyes out of the next chaperon I see, I gobble down my applesauce in a matter of seconds. The low doesn’t really set in until after I finish.

When we arrive at the water park, my friend Gabby (who told me she’d prefer to not be anonymous on my blog) said that she was going to help me find food as soon as possible. We get inside and immediately ask someone and they point us to the “snack table”. This sad excuse for a snack table had a small bowl of apples and some Nutrigrain bars. I grab a Nutrigrain bar and inhale it and my eyes wander to the soda fountain. A cup of orange soda would definitely spike my blood sugar to a not-about-to-go-into-a-seizure-and-die state. I walk over to the soda fountain and I see lids and straws but no cups. After muttering a few obscenities, I go over to the table with coffee and snag an empty Starbucks coffee cup and fill it with orange soda. A wild chaperon appears and does all but scream at me at the top of her lungs. Apparently, you are only allowed to put coffee in the coffee cups, and the soda cups will be brought out at 11:30 with pizza. I tell her I’m diabetic and I guess I won that round because I didn’t give up my soda.

With a reasonable amount of sugar about to circulate through my bloodstream, I assess the situation. Turns out, all of my friends want to go in the water. Considering how I was just barely in the stable zone, I tell them that I can’t go in the water.

And in that moment, I felt like absolute shit.

I hate how diabetes makes me that friend.

The one that holds everyone else up from having a good time. The burden of a friend. The baggage.

The last thing I wanted was to ruin everyone else’s night.

It’s not my fault, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling like it is.

That’s what diabetes does to you.

No matter how many times I said I was sorry, it didn’t feel like it sunk in to anyone.

In that moment, I hated everything. I wanted to go home. I wanted to sink into my mattress and sleep for days.

I was walking around with one of my friends and I could tell she was itching to go into the water. At one point, I turned to look for someone, and when I turned back around, she was walking in the opposite direction, about to get in the water. I wandered around feeling helpless until I found someone else to sit with.

Thankfully, though, the whole night wasn’t like that. Gabby, who I can honestly say, is truly the best friend I have, hung out with me and stayed by my side. She was the only one who got it. I wasn’t being a debby-downer, I just couldn’t go in the water. I didn’t make her night boring either, by just sitting around. We took green screen pictures with other friends, played some arcade games, and found ourselves in the middle of a very heated game of bingo. My card was Gabby’s favorite number. It was freaky. It was so meant to be. In a room of about 20 other heated bingo players from my high school, I won my very first round. G57 and there I was, squealing “Bingo!” The prizes were college t-shirts, and since they didn’t have one from my school, I got Gabby’s school and gave it to her.

What goes around, comes around.

After bingo, it was time for everyone to see a hypnotist. The same hypnotist performed at my college orientation 2 weeks earlier. It was a blast. We were all cracking up the entire time. It was the first time the class of 2012 really felt united to me.

After that, we went into a banquet room and had a dance party before our 3 am breakfast. It was amazing. Pretty much everyone was in sweats because they had all just changed out of their bathing suits. No one cared about how they looked. Clothes were casual, makeup was smudged, hair was messy. Status didn’t matter. We all had just graduated.

During breakfast, there was a raffle. We all got 2 tickets, one for small prizes and one for the big prizes at the end. They called out more than half of the blue tickets to get gift cards from local businesses around our town. As much as I didn’t expect to win anything, I was hoping to. Almost everyone at my table got their tickets called, myself included. I won a $20 Dairy Queen gift card.

We knew the big prize would be a tv, but it turned out, there were actually about 6 tvs. We all held our breath, hoping to hear our numbers. After a couple tvs were giving out I began to lose hope. Then, “420……0……..9……..0.” WAIT THAT’S ME. IS IT REALLY? YES IT IS.

The DJ’s rule was that you had to dance when receiving your prize, which I of course did. I won a 19″ HD LCD Sansui flat screen.

I don’t even think it’s necessary to describe how I felt in words.

Overall, project graduation went from one of the worst nights of my life to one of the best.

Although diabetes got in the way, great friends helped me through it.

What goes around, comes around.





Not sexy.

15 06 2012

I hate diabetes.





Slander

12 06 2012

Disclaimer: this is a controversial topic that I get very heated about. Read at your own discretion.

Here’s the definition of an artificial organ.

An artificial organ is a man-made device that is implanted or integrated into a human to replace a natural organ, for the purpose of restoring a specific function or a group of related functions so the patient may return to as normal a life as possible. The replaced function doesn’t necessarily have to be related to life support, but often is. Implied by this definition is the fact that the device must not be continuously tethered to a stationary power supply, or other stationary resources, such as filters or chemical processing units. (Periodic rapid recharging of batteries, refilling of chemicals, and/or cleaning/replacing of filters, would exclude a device from being called an artificial organ.)

Okay, now here’s the definition of the artificial pancreas.

The first-generation system of the artificial pancreas will use a CGM device and an insulin pump.  The wearer will still need to manually instruct the pump to deliver insulin at times, such as around meals, and adjust insulin delivery rates based on activity, illness and other variables.  But the system would “treat to range,” that is, try to keep blood sugar within a set range between, for example, 80 mg/dL and 180mg/dL by automatically increasing insulin delivery when it senses blood glucose going above the high end of the range, and slowing down or turning off insulin delivery when it sensed blood glucose levels moving below the low end of the range.

Now I don’t have a medical degree but what the hell? How dare they call the closed loop system, the “Artificial Pancreas Project”. The trade-off is that I have to wear a bulky, painful, stress-inducing CGM in order to no longer have to manually give myself corrections. This repugnant “Artificial Pancreas” consists of two external devices that are already available to the public. The only new “medical advancement” is an algorithm connecting the two.

Did I mention, these two devices that I will be forced to wear are external? And it’s not even one device, it’s two. How the hell can you call this an “artificial organ”?!

Everyone’s getting so thrilled about this being the future of diabetes. They’re bouncing up and down with excitement. It’s all you’ll read about in a diabetes magazine or online articles. It’s all you’ll hear about at any diabetes conference or panel. In fact, it’s all I heard about when I participated in Children’s Congress. I had to be an advocate, a child spokesperson, for the “Artificial Pancreas Project”.

As a teenage diabetic who has raised over $50,000 for diabetes research since 2004, I have had no say in what my money goes towards. If I disagree with what they’re doing with my money, I am shit out of luck. Because I am outnumbered.

I’m pretty sure I’m the only diabetic against the APP. There must be others out there. I must find you. We must convene.

The APP doesn’t sound like a blessing to me. It sounds like it will make diabetes into a bigger burden. I will be forced to have more external symptoms of my chronic disease. It won’t make life any easier. I will still have to be conscious of my disease at all times and always paranoid. I will always have to be prepared for the unexpected.

I want a real Artificial Pancreas. I want a surgeon to rip out my bum pancreas and replace it with a man-made machine that will do exactly what a normal functioning human pancreas does. I don’t want to be in control of my disease anymore. I want a machine to do everything for me, with precision. I don’t want to have to worry about diabetes anymore. I want to live my life as if I don’t have it. I totally won’t mind having to spend a little more time in airport security if it means I will be free of the guilt of managing my diabetes and having to be perfect all of the time.

When the APP is released to the public, I do not want anyone to think it truly is an “artificial pancreas”. But considering how small-minded people already are about diabetes, I already know the outcome of this. Life will not be easier when the APP is released. I don’t understand how everyone has gotten so brainwashed about this.





Hiatus: A Summary

12 06 2012

Some of you may have noticed that I took an unexpected hiatus over the past 2 1/2 weeks. I am a graduating senior, so there were many important things I have had to take care of in the past few weeks. Unfortunately, my blog was left on the back burner. I am sorry for this and I truly hope I haven’t lost any readers because of this.

The past few weeks consisted of: my cousin’s Sweet 16, Memorial Day, the Senior Breakfast, the Halo Awards for CT Theatre, Senior Prom, my college orientation, the Connecticut High School Musical Theatre Awards, final projects, the theatre showcase, the theatre banquet, etc.

Whew. Now that I think about it, I have done a lot. I haven’t really had any time to breathe, let alone blog.

I’ll summarize all the diabetes-related snippets in this post.

Senior Prom: I bought a thigh pump band to wear under my gown, as mentioned in a previous post. The thigh band was an absolute bitch. (Pardon my French.) I secured the velcro around my thigh as tight as humanly possible. It felt like a tourniquet. Insert Hunger Games reference here. No, but kidding aside, I lost some feeling in my leg. If I made it any less tighter than humanly possible, though, it would slide off faster than I could curse. I could feel the goddamned thing gradually loosening and sliding down my leg as I was taking pictures on the town green. It got worse, though, at prom. Getting in and out of the limo proved itself to be increasingly more difficult while trying to keep something strapped to your thigh. After getting out of the limo and walking into the building where our prom took place, it began its descend. By the time I made it to the table, it was near my ankle and the stretched tubing was tugging at my site. I limped over to the bathroom with a friend to fix it. Then it hit me. Shit, I don’t think I ever told my date I’m diabetic. I’m usually really comfortable telling people I’m diabetic because I’m so used to telling people. For some reason or another, this was different. I wanted to feel sexy and free [of diabetes]. There’s something unappealing about stabbing yourself with needles and having to assess every morsel of food you eat mathematically. The thought of telling him made me queasy. I wanted to have a normal teenage girl’s fairy tale kind of prom. I wanted to lock diabetes in a closet for the night. The indissoluble presence of diabetes utterly interfered with that wish. I couldn’t let loose at any point in time, because I couldn’t stop thinking about the godforsaken ball-and-chain I had strapped to a tourniquet on my thigh that I had to conceal. But don’t get me wrong, diabetes aside, the night was fabulous.

College Orientation: As the adult that I am, I don’t like being told to do things, especially by my mother, especially regarding diabetes, especially in public. Moments after entering my orientation dorm with my randomly assigned orientation roommate, my mom says, “Do your numbers”. (In my house, “Do your numbers” is momspeak for “Test your blood sugar”.) Great first impression, mom. We’ve been in this room for two and a half seconds and you’ve already told me to do something which makes me seem irresponsible and forgetful and now she’s going to question it, rather than me being able to tell her myself. Thanks. Thanks a lot. Before I have a chance to say anything, “Oh, you’re diabetic?” I look down sheepishly as I take out my supplies, “Yup, (pause), how’d you know?” Then she replies, “My ex-boyfriend was diabetic.” “Oh.” Then my mom asks what the number is and I tell her it’s 300-and-something and the roommate says, “Oh, you’re high.” I try to determine if it is possible to melt through the bed and down two floors in order to escape from that awkward situation. Nevertheless, I couldn’t, so I just had to change the subject.

Ok, so diabetes is poop.

I always wish to present myself well, whether it be in a beautiful gown at prom or when meeting new people at orientation. Diabetes presents itself like an obnoxious rash or two-year-old leeched to my ankle. It always tries to ruin everything that makes me happy. Now, I don’t let diabetes win. I don’t let it succeed in ruining everything that makes life beautiful. But diabetes does make everything increasingly difficult. That’s one thing I can never change, no matter how much I want to.





A Good Day

25 05 2012

The 143 that flashed on my meter this afternoon holds a double meaning.
143 is a modern way of saying “I love you”, in case you didn’t know.
It’s because there’s 1 letter in “I”, 4 letters in “love, and 3 letters in “you”.

(Sidenote: disregard the clock on my meter, it’s never right).

Today I was on my senior class outing. It was at this “resort” that reminded me of a summer camp. I don’t know how to explain it. There were sports, games, swimming pools, airbrush tattoos, a lake, a DJ, and lots and lots (and lots) of food.

Lots and lots (and lots) of food means lots and lots and lots of carbs and lots and lots and lots of insulin. It’s a diabetic’s nightmare. Should I eat nachos and ice cream and popcorn and cake or low-carb snacks like, uhh, celery? I bet you’ll have no difficulty guessing what I chose.

It’s a Russian Roulette-style guessing game when it comes to eating at all-you-can-eat buffets. “I think I’ll do 20.” “40 sounds good.” “The is probably 15.”

Over the years, I’ve gotten really good at guessing, but still, every time it’s just a guess and there is a large amount of risk involved. “Is the iced tea sweetened? It tastes sweet. What if it’s a sweetener? It’s probably not.” The elongated thought processes lead to me just going with my gut (literally) and going on with my day. If I get high, I’ll get high. And I’ll correct for it.

What happens when you throw exercise into the mix? I literally spent all day at this outing on my feet. That’ll cause my blood sugars to go down. I naturally underbolus, as an instinct to prevent lows, so I’ll probably be good.

In the midst of all this, I really don’t wanna think about having diabetes. I don’t wanna act like I have diabetes. I don’t even want to have diabetes. I wish I could’ve left diabetes behind on the school bus. I don’t wanna drop everything I’m doing to test. I’m just going to hope for the best and test if I feel symptoms.

And that’s exactly what I did. Midway through the day I tested, expecting 50 mg/dL or 350 mg/dL. I was utterly, pleasantly, stunned when 143 mg/dL flashed on my meter.

Sometimes good things happen.

Today was a good day.





Diabetes Blog Week: Day 7 ~ Diabetes Hero

20 05 2012

After staring at a blank “add a new post” page for what seems like forever, I’ve realized I have no idea who my diabetes heroes are. Every PWD I’ve met has impacted my life in some way, whether small or big.

Here’s a quote I really like from “The Moth” by Annie Dillard:

“When the people leave I never blow the candles out, and after I’m asleep they flame and burn”

Some PWD I meet make me smile, some make me cry, some make me laugh, some make me nod my head in agreement, some teach me that’s how I should be living my life, some make me realize that’s how I shouldn’t.

I’ve met people I look up to and people I absolutely don’t.

With diabetes, I’ve learned to be my own hero at times.

Have I met anyone I consider to be my hero? Maybe.

Who knows.

___________________________________________________________

Click here for a list of Diabetes Blog Week participants
Click here for a list of Day 1: Find a Friend posts
Click here for a list of Day 2: One Great Thing posts
Click here for a list of Day 3: One Thing To Improve posts
Click here for a list of Day 4: Fantasy Diabetes Device posts
Click here for a list of Day 5: What They Should Know posts
Click here for a list of Day 6: Saturday Snapshots posts
Click here for a list of Day 7: Diabetes Hero posts