Tuesday, December 16, 2014

No one can help.

23. What. The. Fuck. 

I went for a run yesterday at 5:30pm. My number was 150 and had climbed there over the course of a 2 hour 50% reduction to my basal rate and un-bolused granola bar. I double checked the number twice before leaving my apartment, rechecked my Dex, everything was looking good. I was planning on a 4 mile run, at only about a 10 minute pace, and since I always go low when I run I knew I'd be eating some honey stingers around mile two, but all in all this is a really great starting point. By mile 1.75 I was feeling a little shaky, I thought I might be over reacting but I popped 3 honey stingers in just to be on the safe side. It was dark and cold and I was at this point in my run where I didn't want to stop. A low lit area covered by a bridge and with the bright lights of traffic on my right I really wanted to power through until I hit more comfortable ground. By mile 2 I slowed down, thought I'd give those stingers a little time to work their magic. I just wanted to make it till mile 3. My goal Is not to have to stop and check my blood, I'm only running for 42 minutes at maximum, I shouldn't have to be stopping in the middle of a slow moving 4 mile run, thats what I kept telling myself over and over. But finally when I got to a better lit higher traffic area I decided to stop, my head was feeling a little funny and I thought it could give me peace of mind to check and then I could get moving a little faster. 

23. Wait? What? 23? I'm at least 10 minuets out from having those 6 honey stingers (I popped a few more along the way) and I'm 23? It's 5:50, I dropped 130 points in 20 minutes. This isn't normal right? I did everything I could to prevent this exact situation in yet here I am, obsessively checking my blood and watching it ever so slowly climb up. I was cold, miserable and slightly concerned that I was going to just pass out right there in the dark. This cannot possibly be normal, why is it that despite all of my efforts I cannot run 4 measly miles. I do not understand. 

And the worst part is, not that I had to stand in the cold for 20 minutes trying to decide if I should ask someone for help, or that I ended up walking the remainder of the run in the dark without my music on because my head was pounding, no the worst part is that there is no one to help. There is no one I can pose the problem too that can actually help me, because diabetes is a bitch and for no rhyme or reason shit happens. 

Needless to say, I'm over it. I am utterly over you diabetes. You fucking beast. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Crisis in the backseat

Last night I jumped in a taxi during rush hours and headed across town to meet old friends for a few drinks and oysters. Before I left the office I knew my Dex was pointing south but I didn't realize how quickly it was heading south. Once I jumped in the backseat I could feel it, I checked and was 64. Not terrible, I had 4 Honey Stingers and tried to calm my mind and slow my heart rate. Confined in the back of this random taxi stuck in traffic on a Tuesday night I was starting to panic. The radio was too loud, the car moving too slowly, the headlines from the other late of traffic were shinning too brightly. 5 or so minutes passed and I was feeling worse, jump out of your skin worse, thoughts of passing out ending up at the hospital worse. Dex has rendered it's self useless at this point still saying 83 and dropping, I pull out my monitor and say a little prayer that I'm at least starting to move in the right direction. 43, crap. 

I'm having a medical crisis in the backseat of your cab and you have no idea. I have probably at least one medical crisis a day, a dozen a week, a hundred a year and no one knows. I'm sitting in a park bench, leaning against the outside of the grocery store, sitting on the steps out front of an apartment building and I'm have a medical crisis. And you know what? It fucking sucks. 

I don't mean to be overly dramatic but when you're the the throes of a low blood sugar everything IS dramatic. And yes my number maybe 65, or 45, or even 32 and the chances that I will ultimately pass out are unlikely but in the middle of it all it feels so real, so possible and even at times probable. I've lived with this beast for 17 years and eating sugar has ALWAYS resulted in the cause and effect. Eat sugar, recover from a low. But despite this clear out come that has worked 100% of the time I still resort to irrational thinking, thinking this time, on the back seat of this dark cab I'm going to pass out.

3 Months Later

Thanks to Dex in three months I've managed to drop my HbA1c from 7.8 to 6.5. 

My carb counting, psychotic Dex watching, obsessive tracking has paid off. But I still have .7 to go before I reach my goal. Which means some more tightening and fine tuning has to occur. Lower carb diet and more exercise is what I hope will lead me to an even lower more desirable HbA1c. 

With T-minus 3 months to my next endo appointment I've definitely got some work cut out for me, so today begins the start of some new habits. 3 months ago when I embarked on this journey to get my shit together I stopped running and doing all cardio. I was finding that to keep my numbers in a normal range while running I was letting my blood sugar spike upwards of 200. Then while running I'd just watch it drop and drop, no matter how high I was prior to running I would inevitably fall below 60. This overall was not a good strategy but at the time I didn't have to the tools to figure out any other way. These pre-exerices numbers were adding to a very bad HbA1C and the downing of glucose gels was not helping maintain my weight so I opted for a break. I started doing anaerobic exercise in the form of Pure Barre, which has been amazing. I rarely go low before or after and the intense muscle work really has helped with my insulin sensitivity. But I realize the needs to get back in the running game and I'm hoping the addition of Dex will help with this. 

So today's plan is this. 3pm reduce basal insulin to 50%. When I begin my 3 mile run at 430 I'll take 8g of fast acting carbs with another 4g every mile afterwards. 

This is all trial and error so WHO knows it this will work and I'll tweak as we go. My overall goal is to run a 1/2 marathon in 1 year from today. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Dex is holding steady at 98. Definitely no need to check before I walk into what should be a really quick meeting. 

Oh shit, why is my heart is pounding? Are my hands visibly shaking? I'm going to pass out, should I excuse myself? No, no, this is just straight up paranoia, try breathing slower. For fucks sake why is everyone talking so slow? I haven't taken insulin since lunch, 3 hours ago. Why would I be low right now? Dex, hello catch up here, confirm that I need to be freaking out and then I'll get up and get something. Okay okay we're wrapping up, oh god no she's asking another question. Stop with the questions, I'm dying here! Can't you see the sweat on my forehead? Okay okay okay, walk quickly but not too quickly, you're not going to pass out you're fine, you're fine. Get sugar, get sugar, get sugar. Here we are, sugar in the mouth. Panic subsiding, 53 not terrible. 

Whew, that was a stressful meeting and I'm not even sure what was discuss. Or what I agreed to do. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


After a major rage-correction to a low blood sugar (think honey stingers plus two oatmeal cookies) I went to bed with my Dex telling me I was heading north. So it was not a terrible surprise when 3 hours later my Dex was waking me up telling me I had climbed to 339. Now I haven't been in the 300 hundreds in a couple weeks, and I really try to avoid it at all costs. So I diligently got up at 2am and made a correction, and promptly fell back to sleep only to have a nightmare about my high number. I dreamed that despite my very tight control lately the doctor told me my eye sight was getting worse. He told me that there was nothing I could do and that no amount of control would stop the progression of my disintegrating retinas. He then showed me a photo of the back of my eyes where there were a million little read dots and black skull and cross bones. Yes, a black skull and cross bones. I woke up in the middle of this whimpering and sweaty. 

I haven't really acknowledge how much my recent optomologist visit has affected me mentally. Yes, it has scared the shit out of me gotten me to really gain a serious control over The Beast. But it also has really scared me down to my core, made me think about how much I could lose just because I have really bad luck and have Diabetes. And it really sucks. Like really really fucking sucks. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

TSA Fail

Like I've said I have been dealing with The Beast for 17 years. During that time I lived overseas, I went to college a flight away and have traveled on so many occasions I cannot count. I know the drill when it comes to flying and am always fully prepared. Like all diabetics wearing a Dexcom & pump I cannot go through the body scanners and while sometimes by sheer luck I am sent through the metal detector line more often then not I end up getting up close and personal with a TSA agent for a pat down. While this is not my favorite thing I totally recognize the importance of security especially in this day and age and realize that everyone is just doing there job. I am always patient, understanding and 100 percent cooperative. And this strategy has never failed me, I usually get someone who is friendly and understands the basics of diabetes and after some patting and some testing of my devices I'm on my way to enjoy the rest of my flying experience. 

In late september I was flying back to Boston via the Charleston airport and was expecting all to go according to plan. I told the agent I was wearing my devices and needed to opt out of the scanner. OK, fine, all is good. I stand to the side for a moment and a female TSA agent comes to collect me and my things. We stand off to the side and she tests my hand and my pump for explosive materials. After a few seconds the screen turns red and beeps like crazy. Okay, thats not great. I knew right away this experience was going to be different and because of that first faulty reading I needed to be super careful and vigilant. I've heard of people getting sucked into long detainments at the airport due to things like this so immediately my guard was up. 

The TSA agent panicked, and honestly rightfully so it's not something I've ever seen before, and called over her manager. They agreed to the retest on another machine and then do a pat down. The re-test went fine, everything was clear and the pat down is where the trouble began. The agent asked me repeatedly to remove my infusion set and Dexcom transmitter. Calm, cool and collected I told her that I cannot, that this is standard procedure and she should proceed. It was very clear at this point she had no idea what she was doing and was terribly confused. I was starting to get pretty frustrated when she asked if I had something else in the back of my jeans, I did not. When she finished the pat down she told me she would need to see my sites. 

This is where things take a turn. This is completely illegal. For anyone who is unaware under no circumstances should a TSA agent ask to see any part of your skin. No procedure should ever entail you lifting or lowering any of your clothing to revel a port or infusion site. I knew this, but I didn't actually know my rights. I stated how uncomfortable I was with this and said no. But she insisted and I honestly wasn't looking forward to missing my flight, or being detained alone in Charleston. I should have asked to speak with a supervisor but I didn't. I clenched my fists, bit my tongue and went into a private screening room. I showed her my Dexcom site as well as my infusion set, which by the way were on my lower back/upper butt-ish. AWKWARD. Also again, completely unnecessary and completely illegal. 

When she finally let me go I was so mad at myself for allowing that to happen. I should have insisted that this wasn't part of protocol. I should have known my rights, I should have asked for a supervisor I should have demanded someone else. But instead I grinned and bared it. I filed a complaint immediately and was actually contacted by the head of TSA at the Charleston airport. She was very nice and apologized, said this was a total breach in protocol and that the agent has been spoken too and was also retrained. So it has been resolved. But boy do I feel wary of my next traveling experience, at least this time I will know my rights. 

Friday, October 10, 2014


So here is the thing about my diabetes, for the better part of the past 17 years I've been pretty convinced that this was a huge mistake. Now don't get me wrong, I've been getting by. Doing my thing enough so that no one really was concerned with my mediocre A1C's. They were fine, not great but fine. Because this whole diabetes thing it's really not for me. I'm not supposed to have diabetes, this wasn't supposed to happen to me. I'm a really normal 27 year old and this past 17 years have all just be a terrible terrible mistake. This isn't my life, I'm not going to lose a limb, I'm not going to have heart issues or kidney issues or lose my eye sight. I'm not because, like I said, this wasn't meant to happen to me. Diabetes is a fluke, just some weird bad luck but it ends there. 

But all that changed 3 months ago. I was at my yearly ophthalmologist appointment (absolutely my least favorite doctors appointment), and when the doctor was finishing up and taking some final notes and turned to me and said okay lets go over this. Um, go over what? Never have we ever gone over anything. And that was it, that simple sentence that changed everything. I know, you've heard it before, maybe you've even been there, sitting in that chair it's the quintessential "holy fuck" moment of a diabetic. But holy fuck. 

So here we are now 3 months later and officially betes-obessed. I'm on a mission to fully understand this disease that I in fact DO have, and control it to the best of my ability. If it means obsessing about low carb meals and turning down cupcakes, if it means analyzing data and constantly watch my dex. Then so be it. Because I may have diabetes, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm not going to lose a limb or have heart issues or kidney issues or lose my eye sight. I'm not.