Saturday, February 6, 2016

The bender continues!

I left off with Ryan and I going on a great 10km run Monday night.

I felt like I was out of the thick of the anxiety and BG woes. I had an apple and peanut butter for dinner and took no insulin for it because of the run. Sidenote: Yes an apple and peanut butter is most definitely a meal!

My blood sugar, however, kept dropping in the evening. I set two alarms. One alarm for 1:30am and one for 2:30am since those are usually the hours where I have the most trouble.

At 1:30 my bg was 3.7mmol/l (66mg/dl). I ate a date and went back to bed. I call dates "carb bombs". A carb bomb should have been enough for a simple low like that. At 2am I thought I was dying. BECAUSE I WAS DYING! 1.8mmol/l (32mg/dl). Honey+couch+patience. Except I don't know anybody with enough patience for what ensued. Here is how it went down after that initial 2am check:

2:40am: 1.8mmol/l
2:50am: 1.8mmol/l
3:10am: 1.8mmol/l
3:25am: 1.8mmol/l
4:00am: 3.7mmol/l! Hurray!

Approximately 2 hours at 1.8mmol/l. I must have taken 6 swigs of honey and nothing was happening. In my mind I was worried. Ryan was out cold because he took something to help him sleep. I considered waking him up in case a hospital visit was in the books. I came so close if that 4am check still wasn't budging. At 4am when I deemed it safe to go back to bed I took a Zofran. I woke up at 7am to a 14.1mmol/l (253mg/dl) What the fuck man?! The honey must have been "slow-release" or something. I guess I should have read the label. I tried to get an extra hour of sleep. Tuesdays are the only days I work somewhere and I was horridly hungover. Any other day I would have taken advantage of the whole self-employed thing and tried to sleep it off. I pulled myself together with so much coffee that my hands were shaking for the first half of the day trying to work.

Then it all went wrong. I was severely nauseous by the time I got home and basically could hardly move off the couch. How could I still be this badly hungover? This set my anxiety off on another acid trip. Fear and Loathing in Scully's body. I took a Zofran and not much changed. I drank ginger tea and took some Gravol and still not much changed. I settled into a long night of rolling around with severe nausea and not sleeping, eating or drinking. I fell asleep at about 3 or 4 and woke up at 6. Still with a really bad upset stomach and very heavy anxiety. For fucksake man. What the hell is going on?

I didn't even know any more if this was anxiety or diabetes induced. Or neither (?!) Or did one cause the other? Was it the precise combination of the panic attack + period + run induced low + blue skies? Typically my anxiety comes on in a cumulative manner. It builds and builds then, BAM! I know anxiety and womanly cycles affect my diabetes and vice versa.

Wednesday morning was still rough. I had about 4 hours to get some work done before Ryan and I had plans to go do something. Wednesdays are his days off so I often make them my day off too. I struggled to drink a couple sips of coffee and water.

Near the 2nd half of the day I was able to eat a rice cake. JOY! It had been nearly 24 hours since I ate anything. Slowly but surely by the end of the day my stomach was finally feeling a bit better. Now I was just fucking exhausted and lacking energy from not really eating or sleeping.

By Thursday I was almost myself again. I even got on my bike for an easy 60 minute spin but I felt pretty awful after so maybe that wasn't the best idea.  On top of that, my BG continued to be high ALL DAY and not reacting to the exercise or insulin. In fact the bike ride made me spike to sickly levels despite having copious amounts of the sauce running through my body. It seemed like I was on a 2-units every 2 hours for 2 days before finally seeing some semblance of my normal.

Oh Diabetes and Anxiety, you think you make a great team.

By trial and error I can usually ascertain that its a team mission. Usually, it's the deadly combination of both and not one or the other individually. Diabetes and Anxiety. D&A BENDER TIME! The perfect storm. Or better yet, the ideal party situation for two misbehaving conditions.

I'm still picking up the dirty laundry and broken glass. A weekful of it!

I'm always up for any ideas at all to not make this such a bad trip for next time. There will be a next time. My life's experiences tell me so.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Diabetes and Anxiety go on a bender!

I knew it was coming but what I wasn't expecting was the myriad of problems that followed.

Anxiety? Diabetes? They were like best friends going on a bender on my behalf.

It started on Friday like any other good weekend bender. I received a rush contract job that required me going to a location and measuring a 19,000 sq.ft. building. I specialize in residential and this was explained to me to be something simple and easy of which it was neither. It was my mums bday dinner celebrations the following day and I was responsible for preparing a selection of food. I still had to get to a few stores to get the ingredients and the birthday present. I wanted it to be perfect! I arrived at the building I was measuring and immediately felt under-prepared. This job came up so suddenly I didn't have a moment to collect or acquire the things I needed and therefore it took me three times longer than it should have. I looked like a tool. I looked down the long-ass hallway and started panicking. My heart was racing and I could hardly catch my breath. How was I going to accomplish this? What have I got myself into? Am I ruining my own business or what? This makes me look really bad. Nobody is going to refer me now.

I sucked it up. I took some deep breaths and settled into the idea that it will get done when it gets done. The other things I had to do today were just going to have to wait. My day spiraled into a hell hole of not having a second to breathe or even put food and water in my mouth.

Saturday morning I woke up and it all started again. SO MUCH to get done and no time to do it. All the while stressing out so much that I knew I couldn't get any work done. Today, mums birthday was the priority and I wasn't going to let anything screw this up!

When we left my parents house that night I was right fucked on the verge of my head exploding. The party was in full blown *RAH*RAH* mode. For the record, my ears have been ringing since Saturday (almost a week now) as if I went to a concert. The loud voices of my family. Everyone talking over everyone else. My fucking whoopie pie deserts that I spent so much time and money on kind of failed in the desert realm. I just wanted to make something special and I was saddened that it was a flop.

Sunday started the shit hole of hell. These guys were not giving up on the party just yet. We're talking 3-day festival styles. We had things to do that were going to take the better part of the day and were planned weeks ago. Again, I'm freaking out that I wasn't going to get this work done that I promised I would have ready for Monday. That's the problem with being self-employed freelancer, there's no such thing as "weekends". I take days off when I can but there's no schedule. I went to a yoga class and upon finishing it had a panic attack. A real panic attack. I removed myself from the situation and escaped to my car where I managed to calm down. We went to where we had to go which turned out to be a much more anxiety-inducing situation than I expected. Also? I got my period this morning which didn't help my situation at all.

It's okay, just pile it on. Another layer of stress and anxiety ain't gonna change this already sinking boat anyway. I'm in too deep already. Anxiety was gearing up for it's confetti filled bender!

By the time we got home it was 3'ish. I had time to do some work and ease my mind! Or so that's what I thought. Nope. My BG skyrocketted to the evil number above 20. I haven't seen a 20mmol/l since I was pumping over 3 years ago. It was AWFUL. I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. I felt sick to my stomach and in pain. The usual, y'know? Needless to say I was couch-bound and in tears. I knew why this was happening. Real panic attacks used to fuck my BG up for about 24 hours. I used to put my pump on 200% basal rate the moment the attack happened. It's been so long since I've had an attack that it didn't even cross my mind. I struggled all evening and all night berating myself for not seeing the spike sooner. I had an alarm set every 2 hours to check and inject.

Monday came and I was feeling rough but the results of the weekends celebrations hadn't quite settled in yet. I worked as hard and fast as I could to get this job done before 5 while putting off all necessary self help. I promised Monday. I was in over my head and this is my livelihood we're talking about. I'm only just starting on my own so I have a lot to prove. I got it done. I GOT IT THE FUCK DONE. I could finally chill and be happy with myself. I celebrated with a well deserved and moderately hard 10km run with Ryan. Time to relax!

Or could I relax?

..... to be continued.

Monday, January 4, 2016

old school: Lows vs. Highs

I didn't think lows vs. highs were a thing until I had a few comments back in response to my post on D-hacks.

First, since I know I have a few readers not completely consumed with diabetes like myself and other T1's, let me explain:

I will assume you already understand the basics of keeping blood sugar in a very unrealistic margin. Ergo, many highs and many lows will inevitably ensue. Lows are a result of too much insulin and not enough glucose. The wee brain runs exclusively on glucose so a lack of that in the body causes the brain to have a temper tantrum and start shutting down some pretty important systems that keep our body alive. Often it's from too much insulin injected probably due to miscalculation of carbs consumed (or not eating what I originally planned to). Or too much exercise and not enough fuelage (read:carbs). I'll just leave it at those two main culprits.

Highs on the other hand are the opposite. Too little insulin and and too much glucose running amok in the body. Either from eating too much and not taking enough insulin or countless other bullshit reasons. ie:hormones, stress, sick, blue skies etc.

Lows and Highs happen. Sometimes a lot. Hour to hour, day to day.

Why I would always prefer to be low rather than high is complicated I'm beginning to realize. It's deeply ingrained in my psyche also. A low usually comes on hard and fast. It requires fast acting carbs like glucose tabs to correct it. It kinda feels like you're dying. Brain temper tantrum remember? It's a fight or flight response to lack of glucose so it's kind of terrifying. That is, if you aren't used to it. MOST lows are corrected in less than 20 minutes after consuming sugar. If left untreated, one goes into insulin shock resulting in a seizure of sorts and then possible coma. When treated...on with the day. Unless you're me and sugar upsets your stomach most of the time. That's irrelevant to this topic though. Point is, they come on like a tornado causing immediate flight or fight response. Some glucose and a few minutes of being collapsed over, life goes on. They look really bad from the outside and they feel even worse from the inside.

Highs. Highs are motherfucking assholes. Look at it this way; the range of blood glucose is as such: Under 4mmol/l is low. Above 7mmol/l is high. There's not much farther to go below 4. However there is a shit ton above 7mmol/l!!! Like between 7 and over 30. Blood sugar doesn't rise noticeably as fast. It's not until it's above that tipping point (everybody is different) before one notices it. It's simply an over-abundance of glucose. The only way to get it back down is more insulin. (I only WISH it was more cowbell) Or exercise if that's a possibility. I often feel so ick that I can hardly move. Depending on the severity of the high it could take a couple hours which feels like an eternity.

Therein lies the rub for me.
Lows are fixed in a few minutes comparatively speaking. Sure they feel like death, BUT, they are quickly remedied. Highs are my nemesis. Your Diabetes May Vary! I feel icky at about 13. I start getting tired and unbelievably cranky and bitchy (just ask Ryan). At 15+ my stomach hurts. Its a pain I've never been able to describe. It feels like all the blank space between my organs are being pulled and tightened which double me over in a ball. At 18+ the indescribable nausea hits along with the pain. My eyelids become stone and my breathing gets laboured. I haven't been above 20 in years but it's the super danger zone. The worst part about this is by the time I know I'm that high it's already too late. The insulins we have available to us these days just aren't fast enough. Even an injection of fast acting won't start working for at least an hour. So by the time I realize I'm high and inject, I know I'm going to go even higher. It always gets worse before it gets better. It often takes 2-3 hours for me to get back in range. Most people complain of being incessantly thirsty but I am so nauseated and headachey that I can't even swallow anything. Yes, there is the inhale-able insulin that works wonders in a fraction of the time but it's just not available in Canada yet. Maybe next millennium.

Then there's the psychological aspect of being high. I know I'm stuck there for hours. What damage is happening inside my body being this high for that many hours? I panic. I freak out. I'm learning to force calmness on myself knowing it will help reduce the stress and cortisol output which only persist the highs even more. But inside I'm scared of causing permanent damage. At least with a low I've never passed out or gone into insulin shock. I've never been hospitalized or ever used glucagon. Sure I've been low enough to warrant it but I've always taken care of it myself. Even the worst lows that leave me deathly hungover for a day are more tolerable than hours of being so high that I am a bitch on wheels.

So there you have it. Why I'll take a low over a high any day!

And why I chronically over-dose as a result.

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 12 of 12

I'm still here. Still fucking around. Here are some pik-it-ures for no reason. It was a Saturday. I took these pictures on the 12th but am just now getting around to posting them. WIN and immediate FAIL. But pics are forever (if you back them up three times in three different places like I do).

1. Saturday morning coffee.

2. Ryan had to work at noon so we did our weekly grocery shop first thing in the morning. 

3. I uploaded this photo because I was backing up photos and forgot that I hadn't posted anything from this trip Ryan and I took in the summer. We rode over 300km in 3 days with just a messenger bag each. We stayed at a hostel and a motel along the way. We encountered freezing cold temps, RAIN and sweltering heat in the span of less than 3 days. The picture shows how we basically fucked both our bikes. Ryan had to rebuild his bottom bracket and mine was relegated to being hung up for nearly two months while he rebuilt almost my entire drive train. Don't do this folks. Just because the gravel trail was a more direct route doesn't mean you should take it. OOPS!

4. WORK WORK WORK. Being self-employed and working from my living room means there's no routine so I just work when Ryan works. 

5. This has become my favourite go-to. Rice cake, smashed avocado, tomato and vegan Daiya cheese.

6. It's been awhile. It took about 18 months to complete my one sleeve and we are about 1/2 way through the new sleeve. This was recent work.

7. I went out to do some errands. Hitting up the B.Barn because PEANUT butter.

8. We've been shopping at a produce wholesaler. It means at least 2 stops for groceries and this place is cash and carry with very limited opening hours. However, hauls like the one seen is usually 40-50 dollars. It's insanely cheap. Being that we do almost all our own cooking as vegans this is an awesome place for us.

9. I snuck a short 45minutes on the bike. I wanted to get outside but didn't have much time to spare in the day.

10. Another shot from the rollers

11. Ah, my other daily obsession. I eat this most days. It may look healthy but my peanut butter to apple ratio makes it more meal-like than snack-like. We're talking like a 1:3 apple to peanut butter ratio. 

12. I wish this one came out better but the photo kept crashing my phone! Fish-eye + Ferret = SUPER ADORBS!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

11 of my 'betes lifestyle HACKS!

These are my diabetes hacks. Or if you prefer, the tricks to how I "get by" with my treatments.

1. Sharpie Marker. This one I recently wrote a post about. It's how I "remember" that I've taken my Lantus (or not taken it yet) without relying on a stupid smart phone app. It may seem archaic and simplistic, that's because it is!

2. Listerine strips container. This one is an oldie, but a goody. For on-the-go purposes like cycling and running where I don't want the shake rattle and absolute annoyance of the strips smashing around in the bottle. It's small and convenient. Just remember to point the bottom of the strip down. Too many times pulling them out with sweaty hands renders them useless.

3. Pre-filled syringes. A typical syringe will hold 3 units with the plunger cap on. Ideal for the odd high BG when I'm out exercising and I don't want my insulin to get fucked up by the elements. Let's face it, here in Canada we get both ends of extreme temperature. 3units is way more than enough. Sometimes I'll carry two syringes if I'm out for the whole day on my bike and I'll be stopping to eat. I can still inject 1 or 2 units at a time and leave the rest for later. I learned this trick from my good friend Missy.

4. Half-inserted test strip trick. I wake up to my beeg alarm every single night at around 1:30am. Often again at 4 or 5am. Before I go to bed I set up the meter with the strip half inserted so all I have to do when I'm groggy and asleep is stab my finger, push it the rest of the way in and hit the light button. No fumbling and dropping shit all over the place. It's such a well oiled machine that most mornings I look over surprised because I don't remember testing. Now, having the wherewithal to know what to do with that number in the middle of the night is an entirely different story. So many times I say, "must shove some raisins into my....." back asleep. Then wake up deathly low a few hours later.

5. Pen cartridges instead of vials. I don't trust the insulin pen. It's still a mechanical injection device and that means it too can fail! I know this because it's given me problems in the past. It's also too big to fit in my case. A typical 10ml vial would last me many months but with a 28-day shelf life it's a waste of money and insulin. So I use the pen cartridges. Bonus? No need to inject air into them! I also feel less bad if I freeze, cook or smash one.

6. Lancets. This one I mentioned awhile back also. I keep my lancets in the same spot as my strips. When I grab a new bottle often on my way out the door I quickly throw a fresh lancet in there. That way at some point in the next couple days I'll switch out my lancet.

7. The infamous Scully parachute landing! I blogged about this years ago. I just searched my whole blog but couldn't find it so I gave up. I still stand by this method. When I am high, like really high. Like 16+mmol/l (280mg/dl+) high I will take a rage bolus of about 4 units. Back in the insulin pump days that would have read more like 8-10units for the same result! It's too much but I do it on purpose. I knowingly over-dose. In my mind my bg comes down quicker with more insulin on board. If you know me, you know highs are my nemesis and I'd always much rather be low. Whether it actually comes down faster or not, I don't care. So I wait until it starts dropping rapidly and then just when the time is right I'll eat something for a soft gradual landing. Tankage-free. Like the way a skydiver comes down in a parachute.

8. Dex (glucose tablet) container in my car. Seems so common sense but I only just started doing this. I have a convenient cup holder in the door of my car. Glucose tabs are resistant to heat and freezing. Again, Canadaland temperature extremes! I often need glucose when I'm out and about and this means the small container of dex in my purse doesn't get depleted as much. In return it means I don't replace the purse dex as often which is key because I eat the purse dex and forget to replace them. Thus leaving me in a shitty situation way more than I like.

9. Honey. This is by no means a hack or a trick or anything. It's just how I treat the super lows. Or the lows that come with nausea. Or the rapidly falling lows. Honey is easy to swallow and packs a wicked carby punch. The only problem is that it often makes me gag and it's so fucking expensive.

10. Freezies! Like the #9 above, these have a purpose sometimes. Obviously timing has to be accurate as in I have to be not SUPER low. More fun than a juice box but the same amount of carbs. Added bonus: comes with an ice cream headache!

11. Advil and Zofran. Another old topic but an important one for those hellish low hangovers that I get so bad.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

12 of 12 for reals

I remembered the day on the day and during the day for a change.

It was Thanksgiving here in Canadaland. Not that it matters much. I quit my job to do full time freelance/contract work so holidays pretty much mean nothing to me now.

 1. I started my day finishing up a bit of work while Ryan went to the skatepark with his buddies.

We then went on a little adventure to a secret DIY skatepark in the city.

2. Ryan found a silly concrete covered log.

3. While I found a new ride

4. I finally blew the dust off my digital SLR camera

Next we went exploring at an old abandoned theme park. There wasn't much left of it at all but Ryan always finds something weird to skate anywhere he goes.

5. Like an abandoned tube slide. He went to this park a lot as a kid but I don't ever remember going. This slide looks like it would have been a shit ton of fun in it's hay day.

6. no caption necessary

We then explored a little more in the area.

7. Does the pic count when I've stolen it from someone else? Thanks Ryan. 

From here we snuck our way into an old abandoned hotel. It looks like there was once a fire. The whole place was creepy as fuck

8. It smelled really bad also.

9. peeling paint from the fire I pressume.

10. The hotel pool wasn't really swimmable

11. One of the fun parts of using an SLR camera. This one is still blurry but I was really just fucking around. Those are Ryan's ghostly legs and feet.

12. The "entrance"

13. I had to add one more for the creep factor and because it makes the pictures 13. It's October after all. Perhaps next time I'll make more of an effort to get some none blurry photos. We didn't go downstairs. We've seen enough Walking Dead to know where the zombies are.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

With the good comes the bad

Whenever I'm out cycling my motto is always, "What goes down must come up". It's because I'm not very good at climbing hills. I look at routes based on how much damn climbing I have to do instead of focusing on the awesome fun descents. It's just the way my brain is wired.

The GOOD run! Nice splits, decent paces.

A few days ago I headed out on the trails for a run. I went to a spot nearby and did a route that I always love doing. I was alone and without music or even my phone. Just me, some water, a couple GU's shoved in my sportsbra and my glucose meter. I started the run with a BG of about 10 (or 11, I can't remember). I had no insulin in my system and hadn't eaten anything in awhile. Half way through I tested and was 5.7. A lovely number, yes, but not when I have another 5km to go. I downed a GU. Once I got home and chilled out for a bit I tested again and was 6.0. I'd say that's a perfectly executed run - diabetes wise. I was pretty happy with that. No tankage later in the evening and a smooth night also. Happy.

The next day I went for a run with Ryan. Different trail but virtually same time, same conditions. No insulin on board and hadn't eaten for awhile. Tested with an 11.1 before we left. Did nothing because 10km trail run was supposed to take care of that.

SUPPOSED TO. Because it did the previous day.

The BAD run. You can see at 4 km where we slowed down. On the map it's where we started backtracking the shortest route out instead of staying in the trails as planned.

I was struggling a bit because of the 9.3km rather hard run I did the day before. I don't run often and I'm certainly not up to par with day after day. My legs were aching. I couldn't catch my breath and was slowing to a walk up even the smallest hills. Something ain't right. About 4'ish km in I tested. 15.6. All the squirrels in all the forests must have heard me scream "FAAAACK".

"Are you going to take some insulin?" Ryan says.
"I can't, it's at the car." I say.

Not too long before the struggle became more real than I had intended. Look how happy Ryan is! I wish we could stay in that lovely moment.

We both know immediately that our run is over. We're the farthest from the car now. My brain starts spinning. What the fucking fuck fuck? No insulin in my system. No food before the run. Hydrated regular. It was a regular day, nothing out of the ordinary. I wasn't stressed or tired or anything. My stomach is in pain. My body is in pain. I'm nauseous. I try jogging it out for a bit in hopes that movement will have an effect. I test again. 15.9.
"It's over." I say, "I can't run any more, I'm just shuffling as it is."

Ryan offers to run to the car at breakneck speed to get my insulin and come back. I said no. Whether I inject now or 10 minutes from now I'm still looking at 1.5-2hours before I'll start coming down.
I choked back a few tears. Why didn't I have my insulin on me? Because yesterdays run was so beautiful and set up just the same. Of the amount of times I need insulin during exercise is pretty slim. Again, not like it would have mattered. I was in it deep now.

I know for some people that might not seem that high. YDMV (Your diabetes may vary). For me, this is my red zone. Anywhere above 14 or 15. If I see a double digit starting with a 2? I'm probably dead.

I slump into the car and test again. SEVENTEEN POINT FUCKING ONE. Well fuck!!!!! I jab my quad with 3u of insulin and fall into a puddle of tears.

"have you ever seen me cry because of diabetes?" I asked Ryan.
"No, I don't think so." He replies.

I hurt. Every muscle in my body feels like a knot. My stomach is so tight and nauseous. I'm frustrated because I don't know if this could have been avoided and I've totally ruined what was supposed to be a beautiful fall trail run with Ryan. He comforts me. I know he wishes he could help. Sometimes I wish he could help too.

The worst part? I know I'm going to be in this world of hurt for a couple hours. We got home and I curled up into a ball on the couch. The tunnel always seems so long and dark when I'm feeling like shit.

2 hours later I finally saw a number starting with a 10. We were getting ready to go out. Less than 30 minutes later and still no food in my system I started feeling sick again. BG blasted up to 16.4.

NOW I'm ready to throw myself off a bridge. What the fucking FUCK is going on?!

On our way out. Hours of high blood sugar and a breakdown into tears. Frustration. Coping not going so well.

Some coffee, more insulin and a couple hours I am finally back in normal land where I remained. I have no explanation for what happened. Both my insulins were fresh out of the fridge within a week and both were working fine before and continue to work fine after so it wasn't that.

I had two runs in two days. One was so awesome and amazing and the other was utter hell. Guess which one sticks out in my mind? Yeah. cynically pessimistic me.

Monday, August 31, 2015

13 years and a lifetime more to go. Fuck Diabetes YO!

I wrote this more than a month ago and then sat on it like a lazy fuck.

13 years…

I don’t often recognize the day I got diagnosed. I should say I don’t often recognize it OUTWARDLY. I always know inside.

Ryan and I were rock climbing, camping and trail running up  north for the weekend. As we were packing our gear

I said, “huh. Tomorrow’s the 19th eh?”
Ryan, “Yup.”
Me, “I’ve officially had diabetes for 13 years and I’m still alive and kicking.”
Ryan, “……..
I actually can’t remember if he said anything but that basically summed up the conversation.

A few moments later the thought was gone but not forgotten. At least not in my head. Whether I want to admit it or not it’s a rather huge turning point in my life and those memories will never fade of my diagnosis. 13 years later I still feel cheated as a result of HOW I got diabetes and furthermore, HOW I was so poorly treated those first two months.

Maybe you don’t know my diagnosis story, here it is the shortest point form possible that I can muster. All dates are assumed but generally speaking it's pretty fucking close:

July 1st 2002: Canada Day long weekend rock climbing up in Tobermory with friends, get loads of poison ivy
July 17th ‘ish?: Go to walk-in clinic fearing need for medical treatment of the poison ivy that is still raging a war on my legs
July 17th pm: Start an aggressive dose of prednisone
July 18th am: Wake up unable to see clearly
July 18th pm: Get emergency appointment with my optometrist, eyes have changed an entire diopter overnight. She tells me either A)pregnancy (NOT A FUCKING CHANCE) or B)Diabetes
July 18th pm: See GP, emergency appointment, get lab req for blood work
July 19th am: Lab work
July 19th pm: Back to the doc, doc tells me “some kind of diabetes. Eat only protein and fat while avoiding carbs.” Doc does not refer me to an Endo nor does he give me pills or insulin. He also does not book a follow up appointment but sets me up to join a support group in a couple months. A1C was normal because of sudden onset pancreatic demise.
July 23rd: Leave for 9 days of backpacking on the West Coast Trail in British Columbia. It was my College graduation gift. (still no insulin or glucose meter. Just the directions to not eat carbs)
July 25th: Get emergency evacuated by helicopter from the WCT after 3 days into the 9-day trip. I couldn’t see because my vision was FUCKED. I had new contacts for the new prescription but the intense hiking lowered my bg so rapidly that the new stronger contacts were way too strong and my old contacts were also too strong. With vision as bad as mine I was literally BLIND.
July 26th:  Buy my very first glucose meter in Victoria BC, still have no idea how to use it. Fly home a few days later.
July 26th – September 10th: Try not to die. No insulin, No follow up doctors appointments.  Spend every day feeling like SHIT. I don’t’ remember this time very well, it’s all a blur. I do remember always seeing 20+ mmol/l or “HI” on my meter 24/7. Drop down to 110lbs. I was most likely in the early stages of DKA for the entire 2 months.
September 10th:  support group at the diabetes clinic for patients with type 2. One very concerned nurse pulls me out of the class and tells me I should be dead after 2 months without insulin.
September 11th: I return to the clinic and learn how to inject insulin through tears. I remember this day because my boyfriend at the time and I were watching a 9-11 1 year anniversary memorial on TV.

That's my story.
Here I am now, 13 years later and more bitter and jaded than ever. I am happy in my life more now than have been and that's partially to do with how I manage my diabetes and partially nothing at all to do with diabetes.

It consumes my almost every thought and determines my every move. Sometimes Ryan asks me what's wrong because I often look so concerned. Resting Bitch Face? haha. More like Resting Diabetes-is-on-my-mind Face. Him asking me has forced me to think about it and usually when he asks me I realize I was just thinking about my minute to minute diabetes management. Being with Ryan has made me realize how much diabetes consumes my thoughts because he genuinely cares enough to ask. Sometimes a string of thoughts just upset me. Maybe I'm a little high and I just ate something. Maybe it had a bit of carbs maybe I question how much insulin I took. Maybe we want to spontaneously roll around the neighbourhood on our skateboards and I have to get creative by shoving gels or fruit chews down my bra.  Maybe I don't want to carry my glucose meter but I'm afraid to go by feel alone. 

It's motherfucking endless. The thoughts. The all-consuming problem solving that has to happen with each morsel of food and each second of passing time. How it all seems so hard just to keep myself alive and how deafeningly silent it can be.

Ryan asks and these days I speak. Often endless ramblings that may or may not make sense but he gives me the open forum to spew my problem solving methods. I've found solace in speaking out loud even if he doesn't entirely get the minutia of it.

Another year passes. Another few hundred shots and thousands of blood sugar tests. Vials upon vials of life sustaining insulin. It happens. Diabetes happens while intermingling with real life.

I  never forget the way I got diabetes. It will always be a cause and effect to me. Something outside caused me to now have diabetes. If that something was taken out of the equation, would I have diabetes? A question that I'll never know the answer to. I hold grudges sometimes and I've been holding a very bitter one for 13 years now.

Fuck diabetes. Seriously, FUCK DIABETES.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sensory Overload

I often have a really hard time explaining to people what sets my anxieties off. I tell them loud music and too much input. I tell them that simply talking is painful and hard. The thing is, when it comes out of my mouth like that I just feel like a twat. I sound like a bitch and people really don't understand how these things can even be triggers.

I complain that the music is too loud. I complain that I can’t hear. I complain that the light is hitting my eyes and hurting my thoughts. I'm telling Ryan to "turn it the fuck down please." I can't hear a word you're saying with noise distractions and I get visibly agitated. Twitchy. I hold my head a lot and it upsets my stomach. I'm not even joking. 

And then one day I’ll be driving in the car with a friend with all the windows down because it’s hot as balls and the AC in my car is broken. We’ve got the music up loud and she's still trying to talk to me. I'm driving and paying attention to the road. I can’t hear from the wind and the music and the talking. I nod like I know what she's saying. I respond with "yeahs" and "mmhmms" and "I know rights!" but I don't actually know what she's saying. I am in complete sensory overload. I need a quiet place where nothing exists.

I haven’t gone into much detail about my sensory processing issues and this won't be very deep because it's hard to talk about. No doctor has ever told me this, but a very good friend suggested I do some research into HSP (Highly Sensitive Person, aka: Sensory Processing Sensitivities). What I discovered was the key to my ENTIRE LIFE up to this point (and only getting worse the older I get).

My hearing is sensitive. My smell is sensitive. My tactile touch is sensitive. My eyes are sensitive. What this means is that what is normally tolerable for most people is painful for me. More so than the usual annoyance and irritation. If it’s loud I feel like crying because it not only hurts my ears it hurts my head and I can't think. If it’s too bright or too dim I get frustrated really easily. I hate shoes and socks and there have been times I've come home and thrown my socks right in the garbage because they pissed me off so much. I don’t like things on my feet and almost all clothes are uncomfortable to the point of freaking out. I just hide it really well. It’s a different level of discomfort that sends me spiraling into migraines and tears. When I am under sensory overload I go into a heightened level of anxiety which can quickly lead to panic attacks. Sometimes the visual and auditory overload are all too much and I just can't stand it.

Back in the sweltering car with my friend:
I have a momentary twitchy freak out and turn the music down after trying to pin my hand under my butt so as to not grab the fucking dial but it’s too late. My throat is sore, my stomach is turning and my head is pounding. I try to just breath. I have a pair of ear plugs in my centre console and I’m doing everything to not shove them in my fucking ear holes. Secretly I’m telling her to “just stop talking, please, just stop talking.” I'm fine if I don't have to reply or if I don't actually need to hear what you're saying. I'm great at listening! It’s the hottest fucking day of the summer and we just rode 130km. I’ve been with her ALL DAY talking. I feel disgusting sweating in the car still wearing my goddamn soupy chamois bib shorts and all I want to do is GET THEM THE FUCK OFF ME.

How do I tell her to just Shut The Fuck Up without telling her to STFU? I don’t and that’s exactly why. I like her. She’s quickly become one of my close friends. I’ve enjoyed our day together and the ride but my limit has been reached and I’m falling off the edge. I just don’t know how to even say this. I told her I was going to write this. I've explained a bit of about my anxiety and issues and she's really open-minded. That doesn't change how I reacted in the moment.

It’s really not you… it’s totally me!

I don’t know how to get through life avoiding every event and outing. How do I say “no I won’t drive to that place and ride that event with you because by the time we get home I’ll be in sensory overload and inevitably have an anxiety attack…”? 

I can't say that. 

So I go, I enjoy what I can and when I get home, I decompress for a long LONG time.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Bringing it back orange

Let me get something straight right off the bat. I really have a love/hate relationship with glucose tablets.

Let me count the ways why I love thee:
-Easy to eat. Even when chewing is difficult they dissolve in your mouth
-Easy to count. I line them up on my lap. 2 at a time in my mouth (no more or danger). They are carb countable too. Oftentimes a juice box or a package of fruit chews is just a touch too many carbs. 4 Dex is 16g carb.
-transportable and huge shelf life. I have them everywhere.
-nothing but glucose. Again, juice and candy have other shit I just don’t want. Simple glucose means it’s doing only what it has to do, get my blood sugar up and not make me fucking fat
-small. Sometimes (okay almost always) I get nausea and it’s always easy to put down glucose tabs
-cheap. Well, relatively cheap. A bottle of 50 is $8.99. So… 18cents a tab. 72 cents to fix a low, $1.08 if it’s real bad and $1.44 if it’s beyond bad. It’s common for me to kill a bottle a week.
-temperature stable. They don’t melt in the heat or freeze in the cold

And why do I hate thee? Far fewer reasons
-taste. Terrible gag-inducing taste.
-waking up with the “zacklies” (when your mouth tastes “zackly” like your ass). This is a cheater answer cuz all middle-of-the-night bg fixes leave you with the zacklies.
-the glucose dust that gets on everything
-the fact that people think it’s nasty and then they get put into the “medicine” category which I guess they kind of are
-when my stomach just can’t take another glucose tab
-although they are pretty temperature stable they are not waterproof in their carry cases and glucose tabs ARE made of sugar so water is kryptonite
-they don’t actually taste good at all. Pure glucose has a nasty sweet kick that no candy does. It’s almost a metallic taste.
-so few flavours I can tolerate

WHICH brings me to the point of this post. Grape is all I’ve been able to tolerate for a couple years now. Also tropical fruit and sour apple BUT 95% of the stores don’t fucking carry those two flavours and the ones that do are really out of the way for me. SO FUCKING IRRITATING. Raspberry? Kill me now. Watermelon? I’ll slit my wrists. Orange… oooooooh… wait, what? So I saw the Orange bottle sitting there all cute. It said, “pick me, pick me!” It said, “You have been so vehemently against me since diagnosis, why not give me another try?”

Remember ye olde BD square glucose tabs? The only glucose tabs that you could buy in the only flavour that existed? Yeah, I swore I’d never touch another orange glucose tablet again in my life. So I bought it on a whim. The next low I was pleasantly surprised at how non-violent a reaction my mouth had. No, in fact it was accepting of said orange’ness. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t LOVE it either but I didn’t spit it out and curse the diabetes freaks. So when I killed that bottle I bought 2 more.

I’m sure it won’t last long though before I’m just plain sick of them too. I give it 10 bottles maybe. Shit that’s 500 glucose tablets? FUCKING DISGUSTING RIGHT?! Yeah, but that’s diabetes. At the time of writing this I’m already on my 3rd bottle in less than a month.

Who knows maybe I should rush out and grab a bottle of raspberry and watermelon and see how my tastebuds fare. I’ll wait for my instinct though because the thought is making my stomach churn right now.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Pictures on the 13th

I wanted to start doing 12 of 12's again. For those not in "the know" that's where you take 12 pictures on the 12th day of the month. Alas, I am anything but ordinary because the 12th kind of came and went. I took one picture the whole day. I was beyond busy at work and had to haul ass on my bike to get to a meeting on time after work.

Needless to say it was a flop but I really miss taking a days worth of photos! Never fret! I am an "against the grain" kind of person. So on the 13th I documented my bike commute to work (and home). It's more than 12 pictures. Even a few selfies thrown in for good measure. I hate taking selfies by the way.

Welcome to my 21km bike commute to work (and a couple pictures on the way home)

1. bike. road. speedy.

2. a small path I take to avoid roads

3. More of that path in the morning sunlight

4. SELFIE? whaaaaaat?

5. I always love old row houses

6. I use almost entirely bike lanes or routes designated for bikes

7. This may be hard to see but it's a mountain bike pump track IN THE MAKING and I get to ride past it twice a day every day. Some of the local mtb advocates rallied for this to be built and here it is! I seriously can NOT wait to play!

8. Just some more road, more bike lane.

9. Major construction has left me finding detours in some areas and this is one of them.

10. Starting to get out in to the boonies a little more.

11. This one has a story. Half way to work I started feeling really nauseous. I assumed it was anxiety because... well... anxiety. Then it got worse and worse. Eventually I stopped and checked my BG. I was high right before I left the house so I took a smidgen of insulin. I guess it was a bad idea because my BG dropped so rapidly it caused nausea. I wasn't low (yet) but had gone from an 11.7 (210) to a 4.6 (83) in 20 minutes. I literally gagged back a package of fruit chews (should have chosen the glucose tabs in retrospect) and very super slowly continued to work. I felt terrible. As my BG came up the nausea slowly dissipated but still left me nauseous until mid morning and gross the rest of the day. At the time I took this pic I was feeling particularly awful. I was curious what the grimace on my face looked like. 

12. random no hands shot

13. This is a jam factory and I hate the jam factory. Every day, depending on which way the wind is blowing, I have to ride through a putrid stench. I don't know what they make in there but it's not always jam. Jam wouldn't smell that bad. Some days it smells like acidic rotten tomatoes not unlike the odour de vomit. The smell this morning didn't do my nausea any favours.

14. Home stretch. Er... work stretch (?)

15. Shadows. need I say more?
I realized after looking at this pic I have a lot of accessories on my bike! bell, lights, bottle, lock and panniers. I'm like an accessory whore.

16. On my way home now. Headwinds were intense, they always are going home. This creek is near where my Nana and Poppa used to live and we would play here for hours as children. It's been a dry summer.

17. Barbie generated quite the attention on facebook when I posted this caption: "Barbie had the bad kind of diabetes and lost both her legs (and the bottom half of her body). Must not have taken care of herself"

18. Finally, a daily reminder of the things I don't miss about commuting to Toronto and the justification for taking a less-than-stellar job closer to home.

I'm thinking about doing this again in the winter if I can keep my hands from freezing off.