Category Archives: Uncategorized

Influence

This is just a ramble of thoughts I wanted to write down. Totally my own opinion. I know it’s controversial…

Our parents are our biggest influence.  Are they? Really? Over the years I’ve come to realize it’s not that straight forward. Now of course this is a diabetes blog, and I would like this to be a diabetes post and I am writing this with diabetes in mind, but it really doesn’t mention diabetes at all.

As young children, sure, most kids are around their parents more than anyone, so the parents could be the biggest influence. But not always. And does it really stick into adulthood? Not as much as we’d think.

I think the reason I believe we can’t “blame the parents” as readily as we’d like is because although they are the forefront of a child’s rearing, they certainly aren’t the only influence in their life. Not even close.

It really does take a village to raise a child.

And let’s not forget that everyone, even children, have their own brains and make their own decisions, even at a very young age.

The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  I believe there is some truth in this. But not all truth. At any age if you learn something, anything, good or bad, that makes a mark on your heart or brain, you will stick with it until which time you make the conscious effort to change.

Now, of course, it makes no difference if what you learned came from Mom, Dad, or anywhere else. What matters here is that it touched you enough to become a belief, a habit, a lifestyle.

But even when a child is taught to believe something, or behave a certain way, and it is embedded in their psyche and a prominent part of their lifestyle, they can, and many times do, abandon it at adulthood, never to return.

It all depends on soooo many factors. Not just the parents.

Then there are our emotions. I know a million people, including myself, who are influenced more by their emotions than anything or anyone else. In my childhood it made no difference to me who was trying to teach me what; all that mattered was how I felt about it. And those feelings determined how I reacted toward that thing for the rest of my goddamned life.

Bullheaded much?

Don’t misunderstand me here, our parents teach and influence us profoundly. But they are by no means our only influence, and it remains to be seen if they are our strongest. We love our parents, we trust our parents, and up to a certain age we believe our parents to be all powerful, all knowing. But they do not have quite as much of an influence on us as we would like to think.

You have to bring into consideration personality type (both parent and child) as well as culture, religion, discipline style, and a million other factors. These all have an effect on influence between parent and child.

I think one main thing that effects influence is whether or not the child is a “sheeple” or a “free thinker”.

A sheeple will be easier to influence, more obedient, more impressionable, and eager to please. A sheeple type person goes with the pack with no question, no thought, they just want to belong.

A free thinker is less able to be influenced by anything or anyone, they will question, analyze, be more critical. A free thinker cares more about truth, knowledge, and independence than belonging and obeying.

Most of us are some level of mixture between the two.

You see, there are so many factors, so many types of people, types of families, sources of influence, that it can not be solely the parents that influence the child. Yes, they are a big influence, but not the only, not even close.

Yes, sometimes the parent(s) is/are the biggest influence. But because there are so many types of families, cultures, and so many other factors, this isn’t always the case. I know a million parents who hardly ever see their children because of work, etc., and I know a million other parents who you might call helicopter parents who don’t even let their kids think for themselves let alone interact with anything or anyone who might influence them in another way.

All I’m babbleing on about here is that it’s not as straight forward as we want it to be. Life just isn’t that simple. Psychology, behavior, upbringing, it’s all just a jumble that is influenced by EVERYTHING, whether you want it to be or not.

My parents influenced me profoundly in many ways. Some of those influences I still hold on to today. But a lot of them I have given up. And there are many things my parents influence didn’t affect me on, I went with other influences. Some stuck, some didn’t.

That’s life.  And it’s a good thing most of the time.

Some parents want their children to believe what they believe, to live how they live. It’s almost like they want carbon copies of themselves. They want little robots they can control and never let think for themselves. But the good parents understand and embrace that their children are their own individual beings who have their own brains, desires, and paths to take in life.

There needs to be a balance. Teach your children good from bad, right from wrong, how to be decent, helpful human beings. But also teach them to think for themselves, make their own decisions, teach them to question, study, and learn on their own.

Because yes, parents have an influence on their children, a powerful one. But don’t delude yourself into thinking parents are the only influence that matters.

 

 

Dying Young?

Many diabetics are faced with the idea of dying young.  This (dying young) isn’t a fact, but just a possibility. I know many type 1 diabetics who have lived with this disease for many years, even up to 65 years, and are now healthy senior citizens.

The fact is that anybody can die young. you don’t have to be a person with a disease, you can die from an accident, or murder, or any number of things. So why do so many diabetics spend so much time thinking about death and a short life?

(The Band Perry – If I Die Young)

One reason could be that diabetes used to be a guaranteed early death. But not anymore, so stop thinking that! Yes, it can still happen, especially if you don’t take care of yourself. But it is more likely that if you care for your diabetes that you will live just as long as any non-diabetic.

Another reason is the constant vigilance of health and warnings of “higher risk” for this, that, and everything else. We are bombarded every day, all day with the need to be aware of our health, our numbers. Taking shots (or changing pump sites), checking blood sugar, counting carbs, doctor appointments, lab work, the worry of severe hypos, and everything else. It is easy to think about death when the warnings and worries are all around weather you want them to be or not, weather they are true or not. The constant reminder (lie) that you are sick, not healthy, not normal.

I say, who gives a shit what others think. I’m normal for me. I’m trying to be as healthy as possible for me and I will live as long as I am lotted to live and I will not worry myself with if and when I am going to die…or how.

Diabetes has not been a death sentence for a long time and people, diabetic or not, need to stop thinking type 1 diabetes = early death.

When I get frustrated, worried, or depressed about my health issues I always listen to this song and it calms me. For me this beautiful song leads me to think about comfort, love, and peace.

Yiruma – River Flows In You 

Another Poke

Every eight weeks I submit myself to a certain kind of torture. Just kidding, it’s just an eye appointment I have to go to every eight weeks. I have proliferative diabetic retinopathy and it’s really bad. The only way I can keep it from getting worse is to undergo aggressive treatment.

Every eight weeks I go in to see my retina specialist. They give me a quick vision test, numb my eyes and test my eye pressure, then dilate my eyes and take a scan to get a good look at what’s going on inside. Then the doctor comes in and does a quick exam herself and lets me know how I’m doing. Lastly she gives me one shot of Avastin in each eye.

This time around, though, she let me know my left eye, the good one, is doing good still and we will keep up with the Avastin injections. But my right eye, (the bad one I have virtually no vision in anymore anyway), is being very stubborn and is still very angry (swollen) inside so she wanted to give me a third injection today.

“I know you have very little vision in that eye anyway, but we still want it to be as healthy as possible.” She said.

And I agree.

So that means I got one injection in my left eye, and TWO in my right…in one day.

She was quick and gentle as usual. I never feel the injection in my left eye, but my right eye is more sensitive these days because of all the surgeries and treatments I’ve had, and probably the fact that this eye is oil filled makes a difference as well. She did the Avastin injection and then had me wait a few minutes with my eyes closed before she returned and did the steroid injection. It still hurt a bit, though, and I let her know it felt as if the pressure  in my eye increased a lot. She had me wait a couple more minutes then tested my pressure to make sure it wasn’t too high. It wasn’t

She let me know we’ll keep doing the Avastin in each eye every eight weeks and now we’ll also be doing the steroid every four months or so.

Oh, yay…

 

Another Love Post

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Today is my wedding anniversary. My husband and I were married in 1999. I’ve written a lot in past posts about my husband and how much he has been there for me. In my life there are two main things, my husband and my diabetes. My husband is so important by choice, my diabetes simply because it is my lot in life.

It’s no secret to my regular readers that diabetes has ripped me a new one emotionally my entire life. It’s torn me up on every level. It’s also no secret to my regular readers how much stronger my husband has helped me to be. He’s helped me to face this disease and work to overcome it.

He’s my rock.

I admire those diabetics that do not have significant others. Those that rely solely on themselves for care of all kinds. That’s real strength right there. I could survive just fine with the physical and mental stuff, but emotionally I need someone to lean on, someone to share with, someone to talk to, someone to hold me when I cry and let me know I’m not alone and everything will be OK. And this is why I am so grateful for my husband. I am quite aware that you do not need a lover for these things, and sometimes even if you do they just aren’t supportive. But this is where I found my support.

There was a time a couple years ago when I had just recovered, and in some ways still was recovering, from heart surgery. I was experiencing severely low blood sugars in the middle of the nights. Every single time my husband would wake up and know from my subtle twitches and vocal grunts that I was having a low. He would jump out of bed and get right to work treating me.

On more than one occasion, in my altered mental state I would begin to cry, I mean really bawl. I would panic and worry and cry over the most random things. Most of the time my husband wouldn’t quite be able to follow my logic and understand my words, but he knew I wasn’t in my right mind anyway and he would just speak calmly and stay on the task of getting me to eat.

I do remember on two occasions though, as I was coming out of my lows I still had the thoughts and feelings I had been crying about. You know what they were? I was frightened that my husband didn’t love me anymore. I was worried he’d had enough of dealing with my diabetes and was going to leave me. I felt guilty and ashamed for dragging him into my messed up life and condemning him to a life of having to take care of, and pay for, a type 1 diabetic. And I was sorry I was going to die first and leave him all alone.

If he ever did understand what I was saying and crying about in these hypo fits, he’s never mentioned it.

I have told him while in my right mind, though, that I’m sorry he has to go through all of this. He’s always said he loves me and would go through anything with me.  He hasn’t lied about how frightening it is when I have a hypo, or end up in the hospital for any number of reasons. He worries all the time.

But the thing about true love is that no matter how much shit you end up in, you’d never want to be anywhere else if it meant not being there with your love.

One reason I try so hard to be healthy is so that I can relieve some of the stress on my husband’s shoulders (this is why I got my CGM). If I’m healthy, then he has less to worry about. If I didn’t have him to worry about me, and I didn’t love him so much, then I wouldn’t try so hard to be healthy.

because gods know I don’t give a shit about myself…

 

 

It’s Been Tough

This is going to be a very personal post. I’ve been struggling pretty bad these past few months. It’s really been a combination of a lot of diabetes related stuff. And it’s just compounded by the fact that the cause of some of it is unknown, and you all who read my blog know that I am the type of person who just has to know what’s going on with my own body or I get really, really frustrated.

In September I decided to stop taking Gabapentin which is a medication I took for peripheral neuropathy symptoms. My endocrinologist had mentioned she thought it might be a partial cause of my weight gain and chronic fatigue. And it really wasn’t doing anything for my pain anyway.

I had to ween off the medication because it is very dangerous to just up and stop, so for a few weeks I took less and less until I no longer took it at all. Well, about three days after I had completely stopped the drug I experienced a three day stretch of very, very, I mean like frighteningly pale poop. This can be a symptom of liver trouble and I know Gabapentin is known for liver problems as a possible side effect…but why would it start after I ended the drug?

In any case after the third day my bowel movements returned to normal color and so I just made a note to mention it to my endo when I see her in December. I had experienced no other liver related symptoms.

OK, so, at that same time my blood sugar levels skyrocketed and refused to come down and stay down. For nearly two months I could not control them. I was constantly in the 200 to nearly 400’s all the time! I would take correction boluses and my BG would come down for a very short time and then skyrocket again for no fucking reason!!!  Ughhhh!!!!

I tried changing insulin vials thinking maybe the one I was using was bad. No change. I tried stricting up my diet (I had been slacking, but not that much). No change. I didn’t know of any illness or infection I might have. I tried everything I could to figure out what was causing these highs, but there just wasn’t any reason. It made no sense.

Finally in November one day I woke up and checked my BG and it was very close to normal. All of a sudden things were good again.

I find myself wondering if going off the Gabapentin did something to my system and/or liver that messed me up temporarily. I really don’t know.

Going off the Gabapentin has helped noticeably with my energy. I hadn’t realized, until I stopped taking it, how much the Gabapentin had been sedating me. I still have trouble with fatigue, but I am much more energetic and awake now. As a result I am able to get more exercise, although not much more because I still have excruciating neropathy pain. But every little bit is better than nothing, right?

One thing going off Gabapentin hasn’t improved is my weight. I have not lost any since stopping the drug. This is one thing that has totally destroyed me these past few months. I have fallen into such a deep depression that I have now virtually given up on all my hard work to get healthy.

Everything I’ve been working so hard on has lead to so few improvements that it is hard to keep moving forward, so the issue with gaining so much weight this past year has caused me to make a full reversion back to my old ways…back to when I was thinner but killing myself.

I am so insulin resistant that it takes a ton of insulin to keep my BG normal. Insulin causes weight gain so the more you take, the fatter you get. So by being healthy and actually taking the amount of insulin I need to keep my mother fucking BG normal I am packing on the pounds, even though I’m not overeating or eating anything that would raise my BG profoundly.  But my body is so messed up that I need over 100 units of insulin a day to stay even close to normal.

I’m so depressed. I avoid looking in the mirror because I don’t want to see how bad it’s gotten. I hate putting on real clothes (as opposed to my grubbies I wear everyday) because it reminds me of how fat I’ve gotten. I don’t sleep well because I’m so fat I can’t roll over easily. My belly is so huge I look 9 months pregnant! The past three weeks or so I’ve just shut down and “forgotten” about taking care of myself. Why try?  If I’m “healthy” I’m huge, and if I’m thinner I’m killing myself.

Either way I’m not happy.

From here on out I really don’t have any plan other than to beg my endo to raise my metformin dose and hope it helps enough with the insulin resistance to let me lose weight and keep my BG’s down.

 

Teladoc

So my current insurance company offers an option called Teladoc. Basically it’s over the phone care. I tried it today.

I was very skeptical at first; calling a doctor and having them diagnose and treat you without an actual in-person exam. Doesn’t sound safe, does it?

They, of course, do not treat all ailments over the phone. If you call with a certain problem they can not diagnose, or they know requires an in-person visit, then they will deny you care over the phone and send you to your doctor or ER.

My ailment is a recurring staph infection. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt what the issue is and that I simply need a certain antibiotic. So I decided to forgo a trip to my primary doctor and try out this new fangled phone doc.

I first signed up online. This took about ten minutes and entailed such information as my name, birth date, phone number, insurance info, etc., as well as my current medications and health status.

Then I filled out a quick request form (online, of course) to have a doctor call me. This info required was simply letting them know a rundown of what is wrong. They gave an option to upload a photo, so I took a quick snap shot of the infection and uploaded it.

Within three minutes my phone rang. I could tell immediately that I really was speaking to an actual doctor. He had that tale-tale doctor voice, serious, educated, studious. He first asked me to verify I was who I said I was, then he asked me exactly where the infection was. He had looked at the picture but it was so up close he couldn’t identify the place. Then he agreed it was cratered like staph. We had a discussion about my recurrence of staph, how prone I am to these infections. He suggested I may have a strain called MRSA. I’ve never been tested for this so he suggested I request it next time I see my primary.

In the end he sent a prescription for an antibiotic to my local pharmacy.

And I never had to put on pants and leave my house. 🙂

Bucket List

Bucket lists are extremely popular. It seems everywhere I go I see or hear something about someone’s bucket list. Many times the bucket list belongs to someone who is currently on a short path to death, or thought they were at one point. You would think since my brush with almost dying, and everything I’ve gone through health wise in my life, I’d have a bucket list.

I don’t.

Sure, the curiosity has gotten to me once or twice and I’ve put the tiniest bit of thought into what I’d like to accomplish before I die, but I’ve never made a list. I’ve never thought it was a worthwhile endeavor.  What I do with my life before death is more than plans, desires, personal accomplishments. What I want to experience before I die is life, and that can’t be avoided. From the moment we are conceived we begin to experience life, we live, and then we die. That’s all I need, that’s all I want. All the little details, adventures, accomplishments, they are whatever happens in my life, whatever choices I make as time goes on. I have no great expectations, desires, at least nothing I would say I absolutely must do in my life. To me they are all fluid for the most part.  What I truly want to leave behind will have the same impact no matter what I do or don’t do with my life.

The only two things on my bucket list are to live, and then die. And I think I’ll manage to accomplish that.die

Just like most other people, I had that experience when I was forced to meet with the reality of mortality. I had congestive heart failure and had to undergo a triple bypass. It wasn’t until I was about to get rolled into the operating room that it all hit me. I could die.  I was filled with such fright that I trembled and cried uncontrollably. I called out for my mom.  I was 34 years old at the time and I was crying for my mommy. Good thing she was there and hugged me. It was the only thing that calmed me enough to gather my wits.

After the surgery, after over a week in the hospital, I was recovering at home and this was when I really thought about life and death. For me it was a wake-up call to take hold of my type 1 diabetes and overall health. It wasn’t thinking about what I wanted to do in my life, hopes, desires, accomplishments, etc.. For me it was just wanting to continue to live. I just wasn’t ready to die yet, that was all.

All my goals – the few I have- are short term and able to be changed at a moments notice. I live day to day for the most part. And I like it just fine this way. If my card is drawn tomorrow or fifty years from now, it makes little difference. I’m just certain I’ll put up a fight when it does come.  I like living, I just don’t like goals and plans anymore.

“Why?”  You ask, “Why don’t you like goals and plans?”

Because, I suppose, I am jaded. I have been crushed and let down too many times. I have personally failed and that is my own fault and would never on it’s own cause me to “give up”. But when others are the cause of repeatedly killed hopes and dreams, you eventually learn to just not have hopes and dreams, plans and goals, anymore.

Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t in any way diminish or cause my life to be unhappy.  In fact, I’m much more relaxed, content, and happy this way. I enjoy the simple things in life, and they are fabulous.  I guess the close call with death helped with that as well.  I look at things differently. The things I once took for granted and never paid attention to are now those things I cherish the most.

Yep, No bucket list here, just the desire to live, and then, eventually, die.

Shooting Lasers

*The following is a recounting from memory.  Certain details may be inaccurate due to faulty memory or misunderstanding of medical lingo, etc.*

Several months ago I had lens replacement surgery for a cataract that had already existed but was burst into growth due to several eye surgeries for diabetic retinopathy.  As a complication after this lens replacement the artificial lens became encapsulated (developed scar tissue). Today I went in to have laser surgery to relieve my lens of this encapsulation.

IMAG0397
Note the dilated pupil and the whitish crescent on one side of the pupil.

The interesting thing here is that when I look in the mirror and shine a flashlight on my eye I can actually see the scar tissue.  It looks like a whitish crescent on one side of my pupil.  The scar tissue causes a number of issues, the two main ones being that it blocks light from entering my eye resulting in loss of vision. The second being that it hinders my pupil from shrinking, so my eye remains dilated at all times.

eye

The procedure was very quick and easy.  It was different from other laser treatments I’ve had for my retinopathy.  For this procedure they first dilated my eye…still needs to be done even though it was already half dilated due to the condition. And also numbed it.  After a half hour or so wait I was taken in to the procedure room where the doctor was already waiting.  They had me place my chin on the contraption with my forehead up to the band.  Then the doctor placed a tool in my eye.  Yes, I do mean in.  The tool was placed against my eyeball and hooked under my eyelids and then held in place by the doctor’s hand.  I don’t know what exactly it was for but I would say it looked like a magnifying glass.  Then he pulled a bar out from the side of his laser machine that had a red light on it and told me to focus both eyes on that light for the entire procedure.  I’m guessing this was just to make sure I didn’t move or refocus my vision much.

Then the procedure began.  My vision is very poor in my right eye due to the ravages of retinopathy, and the oil currently in there to keep my retina flat, and the scar tissue on my lens.  So I couldn’t see much of what was going on but occasionally I saw a red laser beam moving around.  I would hear clicks from the machine that coincided with a popping feeling in my eye.  There was no pain in this procedure like there is with the retinopathy laser treatments.  The only time I felt the slightest bit uncomfortable was when the doctor moved that eye tool over to my sinus side and pressed in.  That hurt my delicate sinus a bit.

The treatment lasted fifteen minutes tops. The doctor examined my eye after he was done.  He informed me that they do not like to do too much laser at any one time because of the danger of damaging the eye.  Because the scar tissue in my eye is so thick I will need a second round in a couple of weeks.

Yay me…