The Barter Games

Diabetes is kind of like betting on the horse with the most eccentric name at the Preakness.  I have a good feeling about that newbie, Langerhans, this year!  Make sure you bolus for Seabiscuit!

We’re placing wagers on our health with each best “guestimate” insulin dose that we take.  Every. day. until. we. are. cured.

“I’d rather hold a spider in the palm of my hand than take ___ units of insulin!” I proclaimed to my doctor recently.  Have I mentioned that spiders are THE. WORST.?

I barter with myself, too.  Take one more bite of the sandwich, Ally, and then shoot that Humalog into your stomach.  Too sore today?  Okay, which arm is the least bruised? 

Take the damn insulin!!!  Wait- is the sandwich 35 carbs, or 43.376?  Bolus half a unit more?  Oh, look, a butterfly!

IF you just go to the Endo and get the blood drawn now, THEN you will at least have answers- a springboard from which to make a treatment plan.  IF you do not go, THEN you will lack the guidance on where to begin.  GO. GO. GO.

My favorite teacher from high school lost her (adult) son in a tragic accident.  The pain was still raw many years later when I met her, and her writing took that pain and beautifully chronicled the human side of grief.  She once waded into the ocean and begged God to take her life instead, crawling back to the shore only when it became obvious that it was not her time to go.

“Take me instead of him.”  Either / or.  If / then.  Decisions, decisions.

If you do not replace the wonky CGM sensor before class, then you will have to go without that data for the next few hours.

I promise I’ll be good this week.  I’ll be brave when I bolus.  Just please don’t make this insertion hurt like the last time.

Eyes closed, driver’s seat, grocery store parking lot before grad class.

Please don’t hurt, please don’t hurt, please don’t hurt, please don’t hurt. 

Sensor is in.

It hurt.

My classmates have no idea why I was 3 minutes late.

If they ask, I’ll make them bet on the answer.

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Signs

Sometimes God taps you on the shoulder and says, “Pay attention!  I am right here.”

  
  
^ A moth-type creature with a cross on its back on the steps of my apartment building.  Google tells me its nickname is “the Jesus moth.”  Aptly so. 

I’ve never seen a Jesus moth until just now, coming home after hours of Boston traffic and feeling sorry for myself despite an otherwise decent day.  

Ironically, I told my doctor that I needed to pray more a few short hours ago…  

“Yup, you do!!!” -God

Time to change my perspective before I miss out on the good stuff. 

Are you there, God? It’s me, Very Light, No Sugar.

Did you just laugh?  Because God did.  Or I like to think He did.

I know God is there.  I know people from the diabetic online community are there, partly because I tweeted that it was 3:00 am and I was awake and frustrated with diabetes and I knew that people from the #doc were up, too, and it got a few favorites rather quickly.  It’s funny how those simple gestures can make one feel less alone.  Excuse my rapid-fire Twitter vent session following that tweet, but I’m tired and I’m aggravated and maybe this blog post should be called “My Stream of Consciousness Regarding Diabetes at 3:48 am is actually ‘Very Dark, Corny Humor'”?

Well, this is real.  This is what those #FreeDiabetics pictures portray without sugarcoating it.  We all want to be free and we deserve to be free.  This is the side of diabetes that society doesn’t often see; this is the suffering that I wish none of us ever had to endure.

I’ve been on the phone with diabetes companies all week trying to sort out insulin pump problems that I am having.  I owe ya’ll a blog post about that, I know.  Consider this the precursor post.  We are troubleshooting every element to see where the problem arises.  Is it the infusion sets?  Is there a product defect?  Is the pump functioning properly?  Is the reservoir releasing insulin correctly?  Am I inserting into scar tissue?  Muscle?  Am I sick?  Am I stressed?  These are the constant questions when something goes awry with diabetes; rarely is the culprit caught red-handed.

Ketones are my nemesis.  They make me buckle at the knees and revert to being a whiny, miserable child.  Even small amounts of ketones send me straight to bed.  Unfortunately, with all of these issues going on in the background, ketones rear their ugly, ketonic heads quite often nowadays.  It is a testament to how great my nurse is that she is one of the only people who I can definitively tolerate in these moments of weakness.  Well-intentioned friends and family members are unjustly used as scapegoats for my anger when ketones appear.  It is easier to allow a nurse or a doctor to tend to the invisible wounds.  Alas, they are in Boston and I am in the Providence area, so it’s Ally versus the Ketone Crusader at what is now 4:00 am.

I struggle with taking in a lot of carbohydrates during the day.  Years and years of traumatic experiences- from inadvertently taking too much insulin to having a bent pump cannula while eating pizza which led to a blood sugar above 500 on my birthday, etc.- have led to a “fear of extremes,” as my doctor put it.  We’ve all been there to some degree.  But I am being honest with you all in that I am somewhat stuck there right now.  I go to the doctor all the time to work on this.  Part of the process comes with trusting my insulin delivery mechanism.  Let’s narrow down the potential problems list until we find something that works in terms of insulin pumping, and then we have to work on ingesting more carbs and properly dosing insulin once we can be confident that insulin is delivered.  Back to the basics.

I do not want to go to bed with my stomach growling anymore because I am afraid of eating a big dinner on top of a potentially-faulty pump site.  I promised my doctor last week that I was going to try, that I wanted to do this.  “I do not want to go to bed hungry at twenty-six years old, and that’s one thing I can commit to changing,” I said as she smiled and nodded, proud of our progress.  But tonight I did go to bed hungry.  I had eaten a larger than usual dinner (but still not large enough) and changed my pump site afterwards, while then babysitting my blood sugar as it slowly but surely went up and up.  My stomach churned as ketones formed, but I convinced myself that they were not there and went to bed, ignoring the persistent emptiness in my gut by sleeping it off.  Later I woke up with a ketones level of 1.2, probably a combination of my body burning fat for fuel in its hungry state as well as a bad pump site…  again.  This happens on a weekly basis, hence the ever-growing bags under my eyes.

Back to the drawing board.  My goal tomorrow (well, later today at a normal hour) is to eat more carbs and take a “perceived risk” by dosing more insulin with my spiffy new pump site once I wake up in a good range and know that the site is doing its job well (fingers crossed).  I would greatly appreciate it if anyone who has gone through similar trials with insulin pumping and low carb intake would offer advice, whether in comments here or in private messages.  (See Contact page on the blog).  I know that I’m not crazy, that there truly is a problem going on even though I feel like a broken record talking about pump site issues, that someone out there has to relate to this somehow.  Please, help a diabetic Sista out.  If I can pay it forward in any way at a later time, or even if this post resonates with you in some manner, my work here is done for 4:30 am.

Time to go count diabetic sheep.  Goodnight, #doc.  And thank you for listening.