Friday, October 18, 2013

Diabetic Robot with Live-abetes

Ok, we told you we would be talking more about our own personal health struggles and how going gluten free has helped. Well, to get more into my mess of a health file, I figured I should give a quick overview of diabetes. Apparently, when people don't have to worry about it all day every day they are unaware of a few things.  But, because diabetes is pretty common, you might know someone else going through some of the same things and you could help them out. Also, heads up, this is gonna be a long one, you have been warned. Read it, don't read it, skim it, whatever works for you.

Before I say anything else, please remember I am not a doctor. Being a doctor is hard work, I just don't have the dedication and to be honest never had the energy to even try.  I am also the last Diabetic you should take advice from. This is simply my experience with Diabetes or as one of my good friends refers to it, "Live-abetes."

Here is my story of how I becoming a Diabetic Robot with Live-abetes.

So it all started back in high school, when I was a young 16 year old girl trying to play soccer and not understanding why I was so stinking thirsty all the time and why those sugar filled gatorades were not quenching anything. 

At the time I had lost a lot of weight, if that happened today I'd be pumped! But seriously, like a lot of weight and I was super thirsty and had to go to the bathroom every hour on the hour, or sooner. My English teacher did not approve, and I did not appreciate needing to book it to the bathroom after every english class, but I have forgiven her for that. (I still have not forgiven her for her poor selection of books).

I also started to fatigue very easily, so of course all my 16 year old doctor friends diagnosed me with Mono. Then someone suggested diabetes, so brilliant me wished it would be diabetes so I wouldn't get my soccer team sick and risk losing at sectionals! (What an idiot!)  Well I got my wish.

The day I went to the doctor's office to try to figure out what was going on I showed up had some blood work done, peed in a cup and had my blood glucose tested. Well they knew pretty quickly what is was. I had type 1 diabetes.  Turns out my sugar levels were over 700. I was then informed that the normal range is between 80 and 120. Whooops. Well they sent me home with plans to meet with my parents that evening to go over everything and teach me how to use a needle. (at the time I hated needles more than I hate bananas).

I was no dummy, I knew they were going to take sugar away from me. So, what did I do? I immediately left the doctors office and drove to Friendly's Ice-cream and ordered their biggest Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Sundae and ate the whole thing while driving home.

Learning moment number 1. Type 1Diabetes is a auto immune disease where the body is unable to produce insulin to manage sugar. So, I need to provide that insulin, I'm insulin dependent. Normally someone eats that giant sundae and their pancreas says, "Oh hey, nice to see you again, double shot of insulin coming up!" and that is that. Well my pancreas is a dud. So not only was my sugar level incredibly high, but I downed that sundae and my pancreas did nothing. My brilliant idea was actually the dumbest idea, but I was 16,  I was more worried about having my right to ice-cream taken away. 

So I learned how to fill up a needle, jam it in my arm, stomach, leg, or butt and try to make that a regular normal thing. I also learned about testing my blood sugar, pricking my finger and was asked to write down how much I gave myself and what my levels were and then I had to do math to figure out how much to do when and... ugh. So what did I do, get focused, get a routine and beat this thing? Nope, I made up fake levels, tested myself only when my dad was watching, gave myself insulin 'sometimes' and never even thought about the math. Wanna know what else I did, kept eating ice-cream and whatever else I wanted.

And the Worst Diabetes Patient Award goes to... 16 year old Bailey!!!! 

So the next few years of my life went on this way with multiple doctors and specialist telling me what to do and me completely understanding, but refusing to do any of it. Then college came and I was a "grown-up." So, what did I do? The same thing I had been doing since I was 16. 

Then when at a Warped Tour concert, Diabetes got even. I was in the front row ready for my favorite band. I felt funny and knew my sugar was low. So I had the bouncer lift me out and I headed back to the festival to the power aide stand. 

Learning moment number 2. When your blood sugar drops, you begin to feel light headed, you get sweaty and weak and you start to have little spots in your eyes. You fix this by eating or drinking something with sugar in it. Juice boxes are always handy to have around!

Well I got there, they were out of power aid and the last thing I remember is saying, "I'm gonna pass out." I then woke up with a bunch of people around me and went to lick my lips realizing that my tongue went straight through and I was missing my two front teeth. Yup. Let that sink in. I'm sure what you are thinking is the same thing the group of people were thinking when I opened my mouth and said "My teeth!" Yeah missing your two front teeth is cute when you are 6, not so much when you are 20. No photo evidence exists. I made sure of it.

So about 6 surgeries later and some rockin' fake teeth, I decided to listen to the doctors. I listened a little bit. I didn't have anymore huge accidents, but things still were not great, or even close to being great. I had EVERYONE telling me I should think about a pump. As soon as someone said the word, I would cry. (I know, dramatic, right!) It was purely because I wanted to wear a bathing suit and cute clothes and not have a gross thing stuck in me that made me look different from everyone else. 

This went on, and on and on. Till I got a bit older and a bit wiser and worked in a hospital and realized that about 90% of the patients were in there had diabetes and the patients with diabetes had way more complications. I was scared straight in a hospital instead of a jail.

*Go ahead and stop reading and watch Orange is the New Black if this does't mean anything to you.

Fast Forward.

I went to a conference, got a new doctor (A post about finding a doctor you like and trust will come at some point) and within two weeks had the Animas Ping pump. After that everything was perfect! Haha nope, still not. Much easier and it changed my life and made things so so so much better, but It still takes work and it still take focus and math. (The math is the worst part).

Learning moment number 3. An insulin pump in what I refer to as my pancreas. It is hooked up to me with a little tube and has a cartridge of inulin that is set to provide a basal dose (automatic doses throughout the day decided by my doctor) and a bolus dose (involves math and is my responsibility to do). The bolus is what I'm supposed to give myself when I eat to act as the pancreas saying, "Hey there, here's your insulin to cover that pizza!"

As you can probably guess, I'm not perfect at it, but actually trying the hardest I have ever tried and really working on it. That is where the gluten-free diet came in. As soon as I started eating gluten-free, I needed less insulin. It was pretty awesome! It also made me realize that I am in control of my body and I need to make good decisions. 

My doctor had been bugging me to get a CGM. Learning moment number 4. A CGM is a continuous Glucose Monitor. It is inserted into the fatty tissue on my stomach and reads the sugar/glucose levels in real time (or close to it). I did not want another robot part. But after struggling and struggling to get this figured out, I gave in. I got one. This one wasn't as big of a struggle to accept, but the whole vanity thing had to be tossed out the window.  

This is my most recent robot upgrade. I'm hoping this will be it and I don't go full iron man. It isn't the magic cure to my problems, but it is making it much easier. I am a Diabetic Robot and I'm gonna rock it. Both of my robot parts are black, they come in multiple colors and patterns, but black never goes out of style and its slimming, so I'm hoping that is good for something. 

So that is where I am right now. Still trying to get it perfectly under control  and still working on that darn math part of it. But I'm much more aware of what is happening in my body and for the first time, really feeling healthy. 

So there ya have it, I think I covered the basics, maybe you learned something, maybe you disagree with some of the things I said. But I said it and I'm hoping it helps someone, I know I can not be the only person to stubbornly fight doctors, science and logic. (oh and math, I will forever fight math)

See buzzfeed gets it. 

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