Saturday, December 31, 2011

10 Facts about Diabetes

Having to test my blood sugar 4-10 times a day is a real pain.
Having to change my site every three days is annoying.
When the batteries in my pump die, replacing them can be inconvenient.
Dealing with the symptoms of low blood sugars is frustrating.
Hyperglycemia side-effects are nauseating and can be life threatening.

However, the thing that bothers me most about having diabetes is others' ignorance about it. AND, the stupid things they say to us.

I've had people ask me questions about my pump, my blood sugars, my insulin, and even my diet. Most of the time people are just trying to find out more, they're curious, and I REALLY don't mind telling them more about it. But when people throw out their opinion when they're uneducated on the topic, that's when I get mad. Maybe mad isn't the right word. Just frustrated or annoyed.

Probably the worst question I've received is one that I hear quite frequently, "Can you eat that?" or, "Are you allowed to have that?" or, "Should you eat this?"
I've also heard, "You're a diabetic, does that mean you can't have any sugar?"
"I could NEVER give myself a shot"
"Do you always wear your pump?"
"Did you bring your food supply?" (this person was referring to my pump)
"Do you need your medicine?" (when I'm low)
"Do you need something to eat?" (when I'm high)
"Don't you think you'll be able to get rid of your diabetes since you're exercising more?"
"You're not too fat for a diabetic"
"You have diabetes? But you're not overweight."

There are some SIMPLE things that I wish ALL people knew about diabetes. I'll be the first to admit that I knew very little about diabetes before I was diagnosed. I also know that for the most part, people are just curious and that their comments aren't meant to be malicious in any way. However, it's pretty much NEVER socially acceptable to talk about another persons weight. Or diet. And if you don't know the way something works, don't be afraid to ASK a question so that you CAN understand.

1. Your pancreas is the organ in your body that makes insulin which controls the blood sugar levels in your body. A normal pancreas delivers insulin when you need it, and does not when you do not need it.

2. Diabetes means you have too much sugar in your blood- Hyperglycemia.

3. Usually a diabetic's blood sugars are too high. To bring them down, they must take their medication; either insulin or pills.

4. Sometimes a diabetic's blood sugars are too low. To bring them up, they must take in glucose by way of eating or drinking something with sugar in it.

5. Neither low blood sugars or high blood sugars are good. Lows can make a person pass out if extreme. Highs are more dangerous in the long run and cause complications like heart disease.

6. There are 2 different kinds of diabetes.
-Type 1: USED to be referred to as juvenile or childhood diabetes. This type of diabetes means that the person's pancreas no longer works and that to STAY ALIVE they must inject insulin; either through a syringe or a pump.
- Type 2: USED to be called Adult Onset diabetes. This type of diabetes means that the insulin your body makes is no longer effective, or as effective as it should be. This type is usually treated with oral medication but some patients also inject insulin.

7. Adults can be diagnosed as Type 1.

8. Children can be diagnosed as Type 2.

9. Currently, there is no cure for diabetes.

10. You could give yourself shots if you had to do so to survive.

I know this post sounds negative, and I'm sorry for that. I'm really not angry or anything, my purpose is really to get more information out about diabetes.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

one crazy morning

Ever have the kind of morning where you feel like you're moving in slow motion or making backward progress? This was me on Sunday.

First of all, I woke up a little later than I should have. We have Church services which start at 9:00 am. (I do love the early schedule though, and am NOT looking forward to changing this coming January) which means I need to be in the shower by like 7:15 am or none of us is going to get there in time. Well, it was about 7:30 before I even turned on the water.

Then I realized that I'd have to change my site. Yea, love a shower with no site! But that also means I'll need a little longer than necessary in the bathroom. After I'd finally gotten myself ready for the day, the kids still were not dressed and I hadn't eaten anything yet.

Then I was having all sorts of wardrobe problems. I decided to put on a skirt though, that I haven't worn in about 3 years. When I weighed in at Weight Watchers the day before I found out I was about 10 pounds down over the previous year's weight! Go me. So, I fit into that skirt that I hadn't worn. Yea!

We were not late to Church but I had to keep leaving the meeting room. Little Brother had to go to the bathroom, while I was taking him, my pump started beeping "No Delivery". What? I almost never get this with a new site. So I readjusted my complicated wardrobe, underwear, pantyhose, and tubing, still "No Delivery".

"I have to go home and change my site," I whisper to my Husband. He nods. "May I please have the keys?". He hands them to me.

I run home and although my site seemed to be fine, I went ahead and changed it. It gushed blood all over! Awesome. I test, 303. Pump wizard says I need 7.5 (it calculates my active insulin left over from the breakfast bolus) but I knew this would be too much so I took 5.7.

Get back into the meeting and sit down. Little Brother insists he needs a drink. I'd already been up and down so many times that I told him to go get a drink and come right back. One minute, two minutes, three minutes... I wait until the musical number is over... I walk down the hall and hear him calling for me.

He's in the bathroom- stall door open- and needs my assistance. I help him and decide that I'm done even though there's about 10 minutes or more of the meeting left.

Our church block is about 3 hours long so when I get home I'm almost ready for lunch. So, I test- 103!

Every once in a while I'm all sorts of DIABETES AWESOME like that! yea!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Guest on Blogging Diabetes

Recently I connected with Tony Rose of blogging diabetes about coming on his show and talking about Symilin. We had a great conversation about diabetes, diagnosis, symptoms, pumping, control, and using Symilin.

Here's a link to his blog:
you can follow him on Twitter:

Thanks Tony, for having me on, it was nice to talk with you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Whole New Blog

I've been blogging since early 2006. At first I was over on some weird myspace-like site but then I quickly switched to blogger. I've been here since October, 2006. I love blogger and have enjoyed keeping our family journal of pictures and activities there.

From time to time I'll blog about Diabetes. Recently, I've been introduced to the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) and although I follow many diabetics on twitter, I am only occasionally able to meet up for the weekly DSMA twitter chat.

I've noticed that many tweeters are also Diabetes Bloggers. I thought I'd give it a shot and maybe focus more of my thoughts about diabetes on this site.

If you'll bare with me, I'd like to transfer my OLD diabetes posts over to this blog.

And, away we go!

Be sure to add me to your RSS!

Monday, November 14, 2011

World Diabetes Day- and the story of my diagnosis

Tomorrow, Monday, November, 14, 2011 is World Diabetes Day. I'm not sure if Google will be doing a special doodle for that day but check and see! Usually if you click on the doodle, you'll find information about the special day. The day is meant to raise awareness about Diabetes. I've written on my blog a handful of times about diabetes. You can link to all of those posts by scrolling to the bottom of my blog and clicking on the "label" diabetes. The condition has effected my life in many ways. Most days, however, I don't really think about it much. I thought that for WDD I'd write the story of my diagnosis. I don't think I've ever done that before, forgive me if I have. Many people ask me how I found out I had it, or how old I was when I was diagnosed. So, here's the story. I will warn you though, that some of the details are a little bit TMI so there's your warning!

In late April of 2001 I started having all kinds of weird things happening to my body. Probably the first thing I noticed was that my vision was poor. It was almost over-night that my vision changed. I went to the vision center in Wal-Mart (hey, I was a starving student at that time) and had an eye exam. I told the opthamologist that I thought my eyesight had changed really dramatically. He told me that I was wrong and that it had probably happened gradually. (Note: HE was wrong and should have noticed it as a sign of hyperglycemia- high blood sugar). I was working at a hotel in Provo at the time. I noticed that I was EXTREMELY thirsty all of the time. Like I would literally drink GALLONS of water each day and still go to bed completely parched. The hotel I worked at had a Mexican Restaurant on the same property and we were allowed free drinks from their soda fountain. I loved their lemonade and was so stinking thirsty all the time that I was constantly over there getting drinks. I still remember the taste. The bathroom was around the corner from my front desk and I was using the restroom so frequently that I'd often miss the telephone. In my job that was a big no, no, but what else could I do? I was also taking a dance class at the time and I remember having the same issues in that class. Having to drink a ton and running to the restroom so frequently.

I also remember that I was loosing weight. I'd gained a lot of weight in the Dominican Republic so I was glad for the weight to be coming off. I chalked it up to drinking more water. I was right, in a way. I'd also recently had a sore throat. My roommate and I were using jolly ranchers as cough drops. I remember I'd go to bed with one in my mouth and wake up with a huge canker on my mouth. I was also waking up in the night with really bad cramps in my legs. One night it was so bad that when I stood up to straighten out my legs, I couldn't stand on my feet because they had tightened up so bad.

All of this frequent urination combined with the excess amounts of sugar in my blood stream (which I didn't know was there at the time) gave me three yeast infections back to back to back. They were INSANELY painful and I'd tried over-the-counter drugs without any help. The semester came to an end and I packed up my car to move home. After a long day of moving all of my stuff out of my apartment and back into my parent's basement, I decided I'd go to the Insta-care clinic to ask for a Diflucan pill. This was a single dose oral medication used to treat yeast infections. I had NO IDEA that I'd walk out of there (actually I was taken away in an ambulance) with a life-long-illness.

My parents dropped me off at the clinic and went to get something to eat. I waited my turn and went to see the doctor. I told them about the yeast infection. They took a urine sample and I assume they asked me about other symptoms, I don't remember. They came back with the results of my urinalysis and told me that they found a lot of sugar. They said that when they tested my blood they were going to see if the sugar was high. If it was high, they told me, they'd probably diagnose me with diabetes.

I can't really tell you what went through my head at that moment. I couldn't believe it. I didn't know what it meant. By this time I was starting to get pretty hungry. All I wanted was for my mom to come back, a sandwich, and a dang pill and to be on my way. No way was I ready for this diagnosis.

They checked my sugar and told me that it was high. I couldn't believe it. They were right! I had diabetes. So what the HELL did that mean? Someone called my parents. I don't know if it was me or them, but they came back. They hooked me up to an IV for fluids because they were worried about me getting dehydrated. They told me that since I was hooked up to an IV that I would have to travel to the hospital in an ambulance. It was my first and only ride in one. The nurses and EMTs in the ambulance were very nice. They were telling me how high my sugar was. I don't exactly remember the number but I think it was something like 529 maybe. I sat in the ER at the hospital until someone FINALLY fed me. I don't remember when they gave me my first dose of insulin but eventually they got me out of the ER and onto an admittance floor.

I had to stay in the hospital for about three days. They checked my blood sugars ALL NIGHT LONG every two hours. It was so painful. They use these awful lancets that are so sharp and hard. They woke me up constantly taking lots and lots of blood samples. In the next few days they taught me how to give insulin and worked on me with some dosing.

Once I was released from the hospital, they referred me to an endocrinologist who tried to help me get all of my ratios of insulin, carbs, and correction doses correct. It was a rough couple of years after diagnosis.

Anyway, that's my diagnosis story.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adventures in Symilin

Post originally written on August 15, 2011
I visited with my diabetes doctor a few months ago and after talking about some of the issues I'd been having with controlling my blood sugars and losing weight, we decided to try a new drug for a trial period. The drug is called Symilin and it replaces the hormone Amalin that your pancreas makes. Most people know that your pancreas makes insulin and it is common practice to use as a treatment for diabetics, really, it's the only treatment Type 1 diabetics use. There are several different types of insulin patients use but most don't use an amalin replacement. From what I understand, Symilin does three different things. 1. it makes digestion slower 2. it makes the insulin you take more effective and 3. it makes you feel full.

So, at the beginning of May, I decided to try Symilin for 6-8 weeks. Symilin doses start at 15 and then go up to 60. For a new user, you take 15 micrograms and then after 3 days without nausea, you can increase by another 15 micro grams. At first, it went really well. I didn't feel any nausea and the dose of insulin I'd taken seemed to be working well. My blood sugars were SUPER low, sometimes WAY TOO low. I'd have 30's and 40's. As I increased the dose of Symilin, I had to decrease my insulin, then increase my Symilin and increase my insulin. It was a very technical process and at first I thought I'd never figure it out, and that the whole process was way too difficult. The doctors and nurses I worked with were very good at helping me out and assisting me in calculating the correct dosage.

Just before we left for vacation to Maryland this summer, I was having a REALLY hard time calculating the correct dose and I was constantly going low. The difficult thing about having so many lows, is that you have to use food to increase your blood sugar. So, as I was taking the medication in the first place to assist with weight loss, it is a frustrating and difficult process. I was supposed to be eating fewer calories and instead I was being forced to eat more. I called one of the nurses at Dr. Day's office and he suggested that I use a 2 hour squared wave bolus when dosing for meals. It worked so well! I was glad that I'd finally figured out how to dose Symilin and Insulin together successfully.

Here is what I do. At meals, I test my sugar, inject 60 micro grams of Symilin, eat my meal, use my bolus wizard option on the pump to calculate how much insulin I take, decrease that by 60% (or take 40% of the bolus) and square it for 2 hours. 2.5 hours after I eat, I test my sugar to make sure it's okay and take any insulin to lower if my sugar is high. If I have a blood sugar of less than 100 at the beginning of the meal, then I don't inject Symilin and I take 100% of my bolus. If I have a high blood sugar, then I take all of the correction dose, plus 40% of the insulin and the 60 micrograms of Symilin. Usually I'll dual wave the insulin and do like 50% now and 50% squared over 2 hours.

It is a lot of math. It takes quite a while at meals but I'm taking an average of 10 units less of insulin per day. I've also noticed a bump in weight loss. I think I'll stick with Symilin for now. I see my doctor again next month and he's going to ask me what I think, check my A1c, and see how he thinks I'm doing on the new drug.

I'd love to hear if there are any others who have tried Symilin and what your experiences with it were.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Roller coaster

Posted originally on April 15, 2011

From time to time, a good, in-control diabetic, can have a unexplained roller coaster of blood sugars. This week I experienced one that lasted much longer and had different attributes than any other I've experienced. It was so strange that I just have to blog about it.

This is my roller coaster. For those who aren't diabetic or familiar with normal numbers, I should be right around 100. For me, anything in the 80-140 range is pretty normal- and considered good blood sugars. (Narrative below)

date time sugar
4-10 9:37 am 305
4-10 12:12pm 73
4-10 4:56 pm 199
4-10 9:52 pm 346
4-11 7:52 am 360
4-11 10:57 am 166
4-11 12:40 pm 313 changed my site
4-11 2:34 pm 260
4-11 3:35 pm 231
4-11 4:57 pm 176
4-11 10:07 pm 197
4-12 7:43 am 294
4-12 11:23 am 373 changed bottle of insulin, kept same site
4-12 1:47 pm 322
4-12 2:50 pm 238
4-12 4:21 pm 213
felt quite low at dinner, didn't check but guessed it was in the 50's
4-12 8:28 pm 54
4-12 10:59 pm 57
4-13 2:23 am 48
4-13 5:48 am 170 Husband woke me up to check on me and tell me to test my sugar.
4-13 11:21 am 143

I began this roller coaster on Sunday morning. We have church at 9:00 am and I ate breakfast without testing beforehand, (that was my first error) bolused, and checked my sugar and hour and a half after breakfast as I usually would check my sugar. I felt kind of high and wasn't real surprised at the 305. I took my insulin for the high and drank a little water out of the drinking fountain. By the time we'd made it home from church (three hours later), I was at 73. I ate lunch and probably didn't take too much insulin for it. At dinner I was 199. My mom made a nice spice cake (second mistake) that sent my sugars way high. 346 at bed time, I took my insulin for that and expected to wake up with a normal sugar. Not so.

By morning I was 360, normal after breakfast, high again at lunch and changed my site after lunchtime. This is usually where my blood sugars would even out and start getting normal again. This time, I went another 24 hours with high blood sugars.

I decided that my insulin bottle must be bad and took out a new bottle, and switched out my reservoir. I didn't change my site though because it had gone in really well and I was happy with the way it was feeling. I think I changed my basals up a bit but I'm not sure. That sort of did the trick but it took quite a while. When I changed my insulin, my sugars came down and by that night, I was having a lot of lows. Usually when I have a lot of lows I'll have them between highs or regulars. This time, I had 4 low blood sugars in a row. After the first one, I ate. After the second one, I had some juice and went to bed. I also lowered my insulin to 75% and changed my basals back. After the third one, I just couldn't believe it! I woke up sweating and just astonished at the 48 on the screen. I drank a bunch of orange juice and ate a piece of bread too. I wanted to let Husband know that I wasn't doing well but I didn't want to wake him up, so I sent him a message on Twitter and asked him to check on me in the morning. When he did, I had finally begun my climb back into the normal range and have pretty well maintained that throughout the day today. What a mess! It is so hard on my body to go through these blood sugar swings.