30 May 2012

Blank Because Blank

“This post is my May entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2012/may-dsma-blog-carnival-2/


I wish my insurance company paid for _________because ______________.
 I'll be honest, I've been putting off writing this because I've had to think about it all month.

Strangely, a lot has happened this month. I've pretty much single handedly met our deductible, which feels kinda cool, but mostly depressing. I think the only thing that wasn't me was my husband's GP check up at the beginning of the year (like ~$100).

And we're no closer to figuring out what's wrong with me! I have conflicting test results and no one knows which test is right and the fact that, you know, my life kinda hangs in the balance isn't helping my stress level.

I've been testing more, which means that I'm using more test strips, which insurance fortunately covers at 100%.

I haven't been as active (hooray depression and other problems that make activity extremely difficult!), so my insulin needs have gone up (and granted, I didn't eat a whole lot my last semester at school, what with depression, my husband being a three hour drive away, and no one to nag me to eat, so eating regular meals means insulin needs go up too). Fortunately insurance covers my Humalog to quite an extent.

I've started on Symlin, which is helping (I think? I'm still toying with it), and insurance covers that a great deal too.

I'm getting my second set of pump supplies for Navi (my pump) on this insurance, and so far...well, insurance is covering it. I need to have a conversation about switching to a three month (instead of a one month) supply and getting 5 boxes of sets and cartridges (instead of one of each) for those three months because I'm a klutz. And kitty. But that is besides the point! Insurance pays for this stuff.

The heart meds I am currently on, while they aren't working as well as they used to (episodes are back and in full force, though no where near as bad as without the meds or before I went on them 6 years ago), are doing the job for now, and insurance covers quite a bit of them.

My insurance covers quite a bit of my B.C. and happy pills too.

They cover some of the doctor visits, labs, and tests, and now that we've paid the deductible, they'll pay for much more.

But I know I'm lucky. I know I'm extremely fortunate that my husband has a job where they offer great insurance like this and that his job allows us the finances to have the insurance. I know that many people do not have access to this kind of insurance, and it makes me sad. And angry. And depressed. And sick.

I read about people having to make choices--medicine or food or housing. I hear about people waiting to go in to the doctor, because they can't afford a visit, and they put it off until the situation becomes dire.

I feel guilty that I don't have to make those choices. It crushes me to know that there are people that do have to make those choices. It's infuriating to know that while other systems aren't perfect, at least everyone can theoretically get something.

So what do I wish insurance covered?

I wish every insurance company covered everyone for everything because shit happens and no one should have to make those types of choices.

21 May 2012

D-Blog Week: Diabetes Hero - Sunday 5/20

So, I ran out of steam and I'm finally getting around to finishing dblog week. But it's okay, because my d-hero was with me to help me crawl out of my antisocial hole (AKA a-hole) and stop freaking out.

In fact, this hero is my best friend, and has helped me through so much over the years. This person has been one of my main motivators in getting my health under control. When I start crying in my sleep, this person comforts me. When I'm being cranky with a high bg, this person tolerates my less than stellar behavior. When I'm having a low, this person will fetch me juice or some other substance to help bring me up. When my heart is freaking out, this person pulls me close, letting me know it's going to be okay.

He can make me laugh and smile, even when I don't think it's possible. We laugh together. We learn together. And we're on this journey of life together.

My hero (diabetes, health, and all) is my husband. Thank you for sticking with me, for being with me, for helping me, for loving me.

19 May 2012

D-Blog Week: Saturday Snapshots - Saturday 5/19

I was lazy and didn't put this together ahead of time. Oops.

Photo: two meter readings, from the same day. At 3:40 AM: 44mg/dL AKA "OMG I'M LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!" At 6:23 AM: 418 mg/dL AKA "I'm high and I'm going to punch everyone in the face because I was 44 a few hours ago and this rebound sucks."

Note: This is not my typical morning, I just thought I'd share what my rebounds look like.


Photo: Tigerlily the kitten helping me snap a pic of my makeshift nighttime sharps container and a bottle of Diet Mt. Dew. She's such a helpful kitty, like when she flops on top of the bottle of glucose tabs when I'm 44. So helpful!

Photo: My d-case, complete with meter, Symlin, test strips, lancing device, pen needles and emergency info card. You inspired me to clean it up a little, change my lancet, and restock the pen needles. Thank you, DOC.


Photo: Diabetes confetti! (Test strips cleaned out from meter case. See, Mom! I'm testing!)

Photo: Because diabetes and all your other health problems don't go away, even on your wedding day. (Photo taken by Ampersand Studios )


Video: Tigerlily and her box, because this is what I watch most of the day


Photo: Tigerlily in a Diet 7up box, because kitty in a box!


Photo: Poster that was out up in the hallways in my dorm in college. I left a note. Because they are jerks. They took them down later.


Photo: A black Pomeranian puppy named Momo who was once my shadow, but now she lives with my parents and younger brother. Even though she wasn't trained to be a d-dog, she wakes me and anyone else she can whenever my younger brother or I had a bad blood sugar. This was taken on her third birthday, and I gave her some whipped cream. She'll be 7 in July. Also, we just needed an adorable picture after that last one!




And this some of what my life is like, filled with kitties and family and sometimes poopy headed poop monsters, but then I just snuggle my bestest friend (AKA my husband) or a kitty or a puppy, shoot some zombies, snuggle some more, and then maybe write an angry rant when I'm coherent enough to use words. But mostly I have kitties and snuggles and Nutella.

18 May 2012

D-Blog Week: What They Should Know – Friday 5/18

There are many things that I want people to know about living with diabetes. I want them to know that there are different types, that it doesn't affect everyone the same way, that I can eat that, that I know my diabetes better than anyone else, that some comments are hurtful, that sometimes diabetes just really sucks...

But over all of that, I want people to know that people with diabetes can do everything that people without diabetes can do--we just may have to do it differently or at a different pace. Sometimes we may need to take care of cyborg parts; sometimes we need to take care of lows or highs; sometimes we have to deal with crappy people or insurance companies that try our patience. Despite all this, we can lead wonderful, fulfilling lives. We can be inventors or professional athletes or the next president. We can get married and have children. We can have best friends and eat that cupcake too. Diabetes doesn't make living life to the fullest impossible--it just sometimes gives us extra bumps in the road.

17 May 2012

Mental Health and WebMD

[TW for some gross, discussion of mental health, violence, and ablism]

So, I've mentioned that I have depression, right?

I've long wondered if there's something else. I've always been...quirky? I don't if that's the right word.

I am extremely introverted and shy. I'm better than I used to be. My mom can testify. I, apparently, would hold my breath when strangers came up and touched my hair because I had golden ringlets, and then the second they turned around I'd scream at the top of my lungs like I was being shanked.

I've always picked at my skin and pulled out hair in specific areas. I shave specifically so I don't pull out that hair, because ingrown hairs can be painful. I pick at my skin because it just doesn't look like it's formed properly, and it bugs me, to the point that I will ignore pain to "fix it". I know this is completely illogical. Don't judge me.

I've always been one to mull things over for much longer than need be, much to the annoyance of some people. Like, my mom was frustrated that I'd wait two weeks or more to tell her that someone said something stupid at school. I waited years to tell anyone about being abused. Part of it is a trust issue, whether or not someone will use this information against me. Part of it is wondering how this information will affect the person I'm telling and the person's reaction. This is a problem when I get into arguments, because if I don't have time to mull things over to my brain's satisfaction, I end up saying really hurtful things because I want time to think things over and for the person to leave me alone to think, not because I actually want to hurt them.

I have "bizarre" rules for myself. At one point it was walking a specific path in the house before going to bed. I used to listen to music at night to give my brain something else to focus on, and it would generally be one song on repeat the whole night. This is apparently annoying to other people, so I try to not do it. I don't let my nails grow past a certain point (meaning I'll never get a mani-pedi, also because I hate having my feet touched). If I'm playing solitaire, I need to win at least three hands in a row. I don't know if that's me being competitive (my computer isn't a part of Skynet yet) or if that one is truly weird. I eat my food separate most of the time--I don't like food items touching, except in specific instances. Sandwiches are okay, as long as everything is in the right order. And there's this hummus shawarma thing that is delicious and I mix that one up. And I have to eat all of one dish before moving on to the next thing. I can't eat my mashed potatoes until I finish all my turkey. I'm also a classic fidgeter, but this seems more like it has to do with the engineering knack than anything else.

I have a thing with food textures. I cannot eat pudding because the texture is just wrong. I also can't eat apple pie, but apple sauce is OK. I have a thing with sounds...sometimes they're okay, other times I need complete silence. I have a thing with physical contact. Hair in my face is like a war crime. People touching me when I don't see them coming almost always leads to a panic attack.

Speaking of panic attacks, I have them and triggers that make me a useless pile of goo. I can be fine, and then suddenly I'm thinking about every single last thing that can go wrong. Generally if there's a trigger, it leads me into disturbing thought land, which I'll get to in a minute. But if it's just a run of the mill panic attack, I'll have a million thoughts go through my brain at once. It's an information overload, and most of that information is ways that things can go terribly wrong. And it doesn't stop. It just doesn't stop. The thoughts keep coming. The sense of impending doom surrounds me, drowning out all reason and reality. People who try and snap me out of it...well, it goes back to I can't process them because I'm processing doom and gloom, so I panic more because I'm unable to do anything right, which means I'm a bigger screw up, which means I'll fail more, which leads to me sounding like the entire planet is going to explode or something, and I'm the only one who knows and I have to convince everyone. To clarify, I don't hear voices. It's more like if you're trying to remember something and suddenly you remember everything, not just what you're looking for. Does that make sense, or did I just confuse you more?

And I didn't realize this, but most people apparently don't have dreams on a frequent basis where they're murdered in horrific fashions. For example, I don't think most people dream up the what if I died in a mass murder, what if I died because someone was tearing my limbs off, what if I died falling off a cliff, what if I was tortured to death by having bones broken...all in one night. Most people don't have dreams about their past abuse, and dreams of how it might happen again. Most people don't have these thoughts while awake either, which I do. It's like music in the background. Sometimes I can completely tune it out and appear to be a normal human being. Sometimes I start humming along to the melody, and sometimes I'm smothered in every minuscule detail.

So, this is where the internet comes in. I sometimes, for fun, put in all my symptoms into WebMD and see how many times I can get it to tell me to go to the hospital right this instant. After a conversation where a friend pointed out that my brain is "fucked up" (their words, not mine), I figured I'd take this guilty pleasure (which apparently is also a messed up guilty pleasure), and look at the mental health section.

I've had teachers in the past joke that I wouldn't be able to leave my house by the time I'm 20 because OCD will have consumed me, so while I was rifling through the more common mental health issues, I decided to look at the symptoms. I mean, if diabetes is so horribly represented in the media, then why not OCD?

Apparently, "People with OCD are plagued by recurring and distressing thoughts, fears, or images (obsessions) they cannot control. The anxiety (nervousness) produced by these thoughts leads to an urgent need to perform certain rituals or routines (compulsions). The compulsive rituals are performed in an attempt to prevent the obsessive thoughts or make them go away.
Although the ritual may temporarily alleviate anxiety, the person must perform the ritual again when the obsessive thoughts return." (Thank you WebMD).

Also, the anti-depressant I'm on also is used to help with OCD, which might explain why I'm not a total mess.

I don't know. I know it's not an official diagnosis, and I'm probably reading too much into all of this, but writing all this out, yeah...my brain is messed up. Writing all this out makes that very clear.

D-Blog Week: Fantasy Diabetes Device - Thursday 5/17

Honestly, my creative juices aren't flowing on this one. I've become pretty tolerant of all my cyborg parts.

I love my Freestyle Lite with the zippy butterfly strips, the little landing light, and the super small sample size, since I'm not a bleeder. I wish it was more accurate, though. I would love improved accuracy.

I like my pump. I mean, as I said yesterday, I hate the alarms. Someone at Animas please fix the alarms. I would love being able to have some sort of alarm annoyance scheduler and then an override function. Like, I don't want the stupid "OMG! Your cartridge is empty! You're going to DIE!" alarm when I'm in a meeting or taking a test. I have a replacement ready, I just can't do it at that exact moment. Let me silence the stupid thing for a set amount of time. Like, say, until the meeting or test is over. Let me schedule it to be loud and obnoxious at night so I actually get up and deal with it, but not at the annoyance level it's currently at. Seriously, tone it down like 5 notches. Also, seriously don't make me scroll in the calculated dose. Whoever decided to make me dial in every since stupid bolus needs to be slapped. I know it only takes a few seconds (if I'm paying attention...I often over dial, then under dial, then over dial...), but when my hands are in extreme pain, to the point that holding the pump makes me think of amputating my hands, this is an extreme annoyance.

Other than those two things, I really can't think of anything else I dislike about my pump. I like having the meter remote, especially when I'm wearing a dress or pants with no pockets (seriously, fashion designers, why are pants for females equipped with the most ridiculously impractical pockets?!). I don't use it as a meter, because as I mentioned before, I can't bleed enough for the One Touch test strips, but I like having the option. I like the increments, the calculators, the food database...

I don't mind doing Symlin shots. I mean, it would be totally cool if it could be integrated into my pump, but I don't view it as the end of the world. I like the idea of the pen timer cap thingies that have a timer to tell you how long it's been since you (theoretically) gave yourself an injection, but I'm not sure if they will fit the Symlin pens.

I tried a CGM years ago, when they were first becoming more popular, and it was a miserable experience because it was like the most inaccurate thing for me, but I've been informed that they've fixed many of the problems, and I'm willing to give it another go.

I know that all these things have to be spread out, which means taking up a lot of real estate. The Symlin shots need to be at least 2 in away from insulin injection sites (or something like that...I'd have to look at the insert to get the specific wording and I'm too lazy to look it up or go get it), and the CGM sensor has to be a certain distance away from infusion sites (from my understanding). Maybe if there was like a patch thing...like a cross between the Omni-Pod and the Ortho Evra patch? That would still be a big thing, though. Just to be clear, I'm not talking about giving everyone BC through their pump, but rather just having the layout be something flexible, but you probably already knew that and this is a pointless clarification.

Oh! I would like more connectivity between devices, though. It would be cool if I could get all my cyborg parts to talk to each other, or even just one device that would act like a dispatcher. I already carry enough crap, so that would be nice.

I know we're limited by some of our current technology. The linear actuators for insulin pumps have to be a certain size to ensure accuracy and generate enough force. The insulin cartridges have to be a certain size to make the infusion sites worth while. There is always variability and variance with testing and everything. Stats class, along with my Transmission of Information class, made me realize how much I hate noise and how much of a pain in the butt accuracy is. Speaking of that transmission of info class, receivers, transmitters, and encoders have physical dimensions. There are physical limitations to what can be done.

I would much rather have the current technology perfected and tweaked than roll out the next big thing while ignoring the current problems. I mean, don't get me wrong, I like new gadgets, but I also love accuracy and dependability. The next new toy might as well go in the trash if I can't trust the outputs or trust that it will work on a daily basis.

16 May 2012

D-Blog Week: One Thing to Improve - Wednesday 5/16

My heart sank when I saw the topic for today's post. "I'm only allowed to choose one? Because honestly, my list would be "everything that's not on the post from yesterday."

I sometimes forget to check before putting that sandwich in my mouth. I don't preblous because I get be really flaky about food. I get very impatient when waiting for the half hour to elapse for the Symlin, and if I've forgotten to check, chances are I didn't take the Symlin for the food either. I'm not the best at SWAG-ing, and weighing out my food seems like a major pain in the butt, so I don't do that very often, unless I'm eating Ben and Jerry's straight from the pint. Mmmm...Ben and Jerry's.

What were we talking about? Oh, yeah, things to work on.


Honestly, all the alarms on my pump make me want to take a hammer to it. I am very absent minded and easily absorbed into other things. So, doing my post meal check, well, doesn't really happen very often. My endo wants me to check a half hour after I bolus for my food. That's nice. For breakfast, I generally plop my butt down and watch the news while eating, and then get distracted by how much I want to reach into the tv and slap some people. It doesn't help that it's election season here in the US. That leads to some major distraction...so that half hour, and then the two hour mark, pass on by. I check before lunch (when I remember and I'm not going OMG lunch!), and lately I'm catching up on blogs, or reading while eating...so that half hour mark and then the two hour mark pass by again. My S.O. and I talk over dinner...so those marks pass again. Bed time and I have my traditional night time glass of apple juice, not because I'm afraid of going low, but it's my night time snack. And by then I'm like "screw post meal checks, I haven't done them all day and I don't wanna stay up."

I have tried to do the "check bg after x amount of time after a bolus" alarms on my pump, and I turn the alarms off without checking, because I will do anything to silence the noise other than do what it asks, because I hate the alarms on my Ping so much. I genuinely loathe the alarms. I want to find who programmed the alarms and smack them. They go over the "reminder" threshold and go into the "Navi from the Ocarina of Time" realm of annoyance. You ignore the alarm, don't even check what the stupid thing says, and go straight to muting, and then you're completely baffled when stuff goes wrong.

I need to do post meal/snack checks, and I want to. Does anyone have any tips or tricks? Or should I just sit bored for two hours after each meal? Egg timers? Some elaborate rube goldberg machine?

Help me, D.O.C. You're my only hope.

Edit: if something doesn't make sense, the kitten tried to help me type this, so please point it out so I can fix it. Super helpful kitten powers!

15 May 2012

D-Blog Week: One Great Thing - Tuesday 5/15

Today I'm supposed to talk about one d-related thing I do well.

This is hard, especially since I'm still recovering from d-burnout, years later. It's easy to think I'm still doing a terrible job, even though I've lately been discovering that (surprise!) it's not all my fault. I mean, the lack of testing and bolusing during burnout was totally my fault, and re-establishing those habits isn't easy.

But even though I went for spells of never testing, of bolusing once every so many meals, of doing almost everything d-related wrong...I always managed to change out and wear my pump.

Ever since I had it, I've always kept it with me, connected, letting my basal flow. I've always changed out, and only on a few occasions have I not had insulin in the cartridge (the number of instances would be three...maybe four in ten years).

Honestly, it feels so weird congratulating myself. I'm much better at self deprecation.

14 May 2012

D-Blog Week: Find A Friend - Monday 5/14

I've only really started reading d-blogs recently, so I don't have an amazing list, like many others. Also, I don't know a lot of people in the DOC, so that also kinda puts me at a disadvantage.

However, these are the dblogs that I keep up with:

Bitter-Sweet @ http://www.bittersweetdiabetes.com/ (This one should be obvious!)

Diaturgy @ http://diaturgy.blogspot.com/

Sugar Rollercoaster @ http://sugarrollercoaster.blogspot.com/

The Angry Type 2 Diabetic @ http://theangrytype2diabetic.blogspot.com/

Ninjabetic: The B.A.D. Blog @ http://www.ninjabetic.com/

Sugar's the Bitch, Not Me @ http://sugarsthebnotme.blogspot.com/

Six Until Me @ http://www.sixuntilme.com/

DSMA @ http://www.diabetessocmed.com/

Texting My Pancreas @ http://www.textingmypancreas.com/

Not My Cell @ http://notmycell.blogspot.com/

Diabetesaliciousness™ @ http://diabetesaliciousness.blogspot.com/

Type 1 Diabetes Memes @ http://type1diabetesmemes.tumblr.com/

And anything else that shows up in my twitter feed! I hope to expand my list!

10 May 2012

Diaversary

I'd like to place a trigger warning on this post for sexual assault. Also, this may be gibberish at some points.

It's my diaversary today--ten years with this.

My mom took my to the ped on this date in the evening, ten years ago, because she knew. She recognized the symptoms, especially after I chugged a whole container of apple juice and a gallon of milk in one evening.

We just did the "pee on a stick" test, one of the old ketone strips that also checks pee glucose. The colors instantly changed and went as dark as possible within seconds of being placed in the cup of my pee.

I was thirteen years old. I knew what this meant. I mean, I'd been watching my older brother be T1 since I was eight.

We went home later that night, knowing that I'd be going in for "official lab work" the following day, since an insta-changing pee stick test apparently isn't good enough for some people (AKA insurance). My parents held me down as they did a finger stick using my older brother's meter. It was one of the "new" One Touch meters, much better than the One Touch Basic that he used to use (mainly, this thing could fit in a normal person's pocket). My mom hit a nerve in my finger when she pressed the button on the lancing device. I think this is the reason I really really prefer alternate site testing, besides playing the violin and needing to save my fingers for that.

The meter read HI.

We all cried.

I was remembering what I'd seen my older brother go through: the screaming from getting shots, the horrific bruises from the Medijector, him punching a hole in the wall when he was low, people being jerks, seeing the pump and knowing it was an option, watching him miss a semester of middle school because he was just so sick...

Was that going to happen to me?

I refused to use the same meter as him--I wanted something that took less blood. I got the new Freestyle meter. I was put on Humalog and Ultralente. Two weeks later I would have the new MiniMed Paradigm. I would have to miss my friend's birthday party sleepover because my parents were paranoid about me going low.

I was initially incredibly ticked. I hated needles, and this only made me hate them more. My friends started dropping like a nuclear bomb had gone off.

It was only a  later did I realized that this was a very sick stroke of luck. I mean, I started feeling better after not being in DKA and not drinking my volume in liquid. But when I look back on this time, I can't help but place my diagnosis as what stopped my being abused.

It started when I was 10, before i started 5th grade. About 2 1/2 years later, it stopped. He was diagnosed when he was in fifth grade. I don't know, maybe I'm reading to much into it, but the timing just...gets to me.

Things have gotten better since then. The meters have gotten better and smaller. More meters are on the market that require less blood. We have CGMS now that aren't the glucowatch that zaps you. We have better pumps with awesome features, like doing the math for you and food data bases and smaller increments. We have newer insulins, like Lantus and Apidra. We have new medications to help with management, like Symlin. We have new types. I honestly don't think anyone I knew 10 years ago knew that LADA or MODY existed.

I obviously deal with depression on a daily basis, and I'm doing better than I used to. I have a wonderful husband who puts up with my super depressing days, my diabetes confetti, my heart problems, and all my other less than desirable quirks. Oh, and he loves me and is my bestest friend. We have an adorable kitten who attacks my pump when it alarms. We share our hatred of a beeping pump disturbing our sleep.

Who knows what the next ten years hold. Will we have a cure? I honestly doubt it. (Okay, I'm cynical and have been hearing "5-10 years from now!" for the last 15 years...) Will we have new tools? I hope so. I hope the meters become more accurate, that the CGMS continues to become more accurate and less intimidating. I hope we have a better grasp on the actual causes and the effects of all types of diabetes on the body. I hope we have a better grasp on insulins and pumps, and maybe the A.P. will actually be more than a neat trick. I hope that the understanding between chronic conditions and depression increases and that there is more support and more compassion. I hope that no one will have their lunch slapped out of their hands because they are diabetic. I hope that the media and the general population will start fact checking on all chronic conditions and stop misrepresenting them. I hope that there won't be discrimination. I hope that no one has to defend loving someone with a chronic condition.

I hope that these next ten years will be even better.