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Author Archives: mollyschreiber

Type 1 Diabetes

Clean it Out

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I’m almost a hoarder. A hoarder of diabetic supplies that is. It only takes one crappy insurance plan and one time struggling to get supplies, for you to hold on to everything you can and to replenish as often as you can. 

  
Can I get rid of the big black Omnipod case? Maybe. I mean, I haven’t worn an Omnipod in almost two years… What about my Dexcom G4? I mean, the sensor is completely dead and, like the Omnipod, I haven’t used a dex in two years either. Minimed Paradigm? Yeah…that pump was exchanged for my current one *ahem* two years ago too…. I might need the instruction manuals, for all of these devices that I don’t use, one day..right? 

  
But these supplies I need! (Seriously!) Do I really need to re-order every 3 months? No. But should I? Of course! I pay a gazillion dollars for health insurance, not to mention copays. At the very least, I should have a fully stocked closet shelf in case the Diabetes Apocalypse ever hits. 

Type 1 Diabetes

Keeping it to Yourself 

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I’ve been Type 1 Diabetic for 26 years, since I was 9  years old. Growing up, I was on MDI (Multiple Daily Injections). I don’t remember hiding my injections or finger sticks but also don’t remember doing them often at school (this was 26 years ago!).

I’ve been on Insulin Pump Therapy for almost fifteen years. I’ve never really kept it hidden but I try to keep my alarms low so they don’t go off during a meeting, which they always do inevitably. I talk openly about having Type 1 Diabetes and it helps that I work in a pediatric hospital where we have a diabetes program. I often refer to my “purple pancreas” on my side (aka my pump) and don’t make any real effort to hide it around people I know. 

So what do I keep to myself then? Treating low blood sugars. Why? I don’t know. Maybe I don’t want someone to know that I’ve allowed myself to get low (because Type 1 Diabetes is so predictable, right?!). Maybe I don’t want someone to offer to help. Maybe.. I just don’t really know why. When a low blood sugar comes on, I sneak a pack of fruit snacks. I’ve perfected opening the little pouch and pouring them into my hand, all while my hands are inside my purse. I sneak them when people aren’t looking. Same with juice. Just last week, while in the waiting room at my daughter’s doctor, I went to the restroom to drink a little bottle of juice.

I have no problem pricking my finger in the middle of an aisle at Target or pulling my insulin pump out of my dress to bolus. Yet, I’d rather not eat a pack of fruit snacks in front of anyone, let alone a stranger (this doesn’t count my family..they’re lucky enough to get all of me!).  
My secret stash: 

  

Click here to see what others are keeping to themselves! 

Type 1 Diabetes

I Can

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When I was around 18 years old, I went to the gynocologist for a regular check-up. My doctor stressed to me how important birth control was, not because I was young, unmarried, in college, etc..but because I was Type 1 Diabetic. She told me that women with Type 1 cannot have healthy babies. She said it wasn’t an option. She said being pregnant would cause immense strain on my diabetic body..I wouldn’t be healthy and neither would my baby.

I went on to have two healthy, beautiful children. Sure, it took a lot of work on my part. I was lucky to have a great high-risk ob who worked well with my endocrinologist. But, I often think of myself as being “lucky” to have had two children. I’ve thought that if I ever had a third child, I would really be “pushing my luck”. All because of what one doctor said, one time to me, years ago. Looking back, could she have just been capitalizing on my disease in order to try to keep me from having an unwanted pregnancy? I guess so. But what she said stuck with me.

Women with Type 1 Diabetes have healthy babies all the time (maybe even right this second!) and I am one of them!

   
 

Click here to read more “I Can” posts! 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Vicious Cycle

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Type 1 Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis are enemies battling within my body.  I took my methotrexate injection last night. As expected, today has been rough. Here’s what I’ve accomplished:

  • Slept last night for 10 hours
  • Kids brought me eggs in bed which surprisingly tasted great (because I’m nauseous, not because of their cooking!) and then I took a shower
  • I sat down on my bed, in my robe, and woke up an hour later
  • Got dressed (sweats of course) and went to the store for a few things
  • Came back, slept for another 4 hours
  • I’m trying to stay awake for two hours and maybe have something to eat before going to sleep for the night

My blood sugars don’t like this exhaused state that I’m in. I can’t exercise and have barely moved around. I have 1,855 steps for the day right now and if you follow me on Twitter, you know that’s a really low number for me! Because I haven’t moved or eaten, my blood sugars are high. Common sense would say that if you haven’t eaten, your blood sugar would be low, right? Nope. 

Other days, I have the opposite problem. Having a busy day at work and/or exercising keeps my blood sugars in optimal range. BUT, all of that movement pisses off my Rheumatoid Arthritis and I have a ton of pain during the week. Some of my pain medications tend to raise my blood sugar (in my opinion, the stronger the pain med, the stronger the chance my blood sugar will go up after taking it). If your blood sugar is too high, exercise is a bad idea! 

Oh to have just one of these autoimmune diseases…I’d pick Type 1 Diabetes over Rheumatoid Arthritis every time. How about you?

Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Needles

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I have never, in the past 26 years, been so happy to be a Type 1 Diabetic. Earlier today I picked up my injectable methotrexate. I told the pharmacist that I needed syringes and she asked what type. I told her that I hadn’t injected insulin in 15 years but something short and super sharp would be great. She packed up twelve syringes for me and I left. 

Just a few minutes ago, I went to inject methotrexate for the first time (I used it in pill form awhile ago). When I took the cap off the syringe, I couldn’t believe how long the needle was! I figured I was just out of the whole syringe game and went to inject. The needle was so dull and thick that my scar tissued leg wouldn’t let it even pierce my skin. I tried twice. Nothing. 

I sat on my bed, frustrated, and then realized that I’m a Type 1 Diabetic, a neurotic one at that, and always prepared. Of course I have extra syringes, there’s even one in my purse! I searched through the closet and found a few. I quickly drew up the methotrexate and injected- first try, no pain, no issues! 

My syringe on the left, the “super sharp and short one”, given to me by my pharmacist, on the right. 

  

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Unpredictable

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After an evening of pain and irregular sleep, it was surprising to wake up this morning and actually feel ok. I didn’t have any major pain and was able to make breakfast for my family without feeling wiped out afterwards. I took my Meloxicam anyway. 

I ran errands with my daughter which I’m rarely able/willing to do because of either fatigue or pain. Nothing crazy- pharmacy, library, car wash, quick trip to the grocery store. I felt so great when I got home that I sat outside, listened to my audiobook, and enjoyed the Baltimore weather for a few minutes. I took a nap afterwards for about an hour, much shorter than usual! I dropped my son off to play basketball with some friends. Then I came back home. 

The minute I walked in the door, I knew it was coming. I sat my keys down on the counter and saw that my fingers were swollen. My hands started to ache terribly and both legs joined them. I felt like I had just gotten knocked down. 

What the hell? I didn’t do anything. I didn’t go run a marathon, didn’t clean the house, or even go to work. Why would pain come on so suddenly? 

I walked down to the basement to get the laundry, laid down on my husband’s weight bench, and cried. The pain was so strong and so frustrating. 

I always say that having Rheumatoid Arthritis is ten times worse than having Type 1 Diabetes. I don’t mean because of complications, life expectancy, medications, etc. Even though diabetes can is unpredictable, it at least gives you moments of consistency. You can at least assume that if you eat a Snickers bar, your blood sugar will go up (most of the time, ha!). Rheumatoid Arthritis has provided me with nothing even close to predictability. I have no idea what each day will bring. All I know is there will be pain at some point, in some capacity. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

A Glimpse

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I had my second carpal tunnel surgery 4 days ago (will cover that ordeal in a future post!) and have been recovering since. I have spent the majority of the past few days at home, sleeping or resting. I woke up in the morning when I was ready, not when my alarm clock went off. I ate when I was hungry and slept when I was tired. I became one with my couch and bed. Sure, I had painkillers prescribed by my surgeon but I didn’t need many of them. The best part of this was I had very little pain from my Rheumatoid Arthritis.

So what’s the problem? Well, this isn’t, and can’t be, my lifestyle. I have a fulltime job, 2 kids, a husband, and a home (and of course, Jungle George). I don’t usually have any time to rest during the week, aside from crawling into bed at 8pm. I definitely nap on the weekends but my RA pain doesn’t rest when I do.

I wonder how many less pills, injections, braces, and tears there would be if I won the lottery and could stay home to rest as often as I needed to. I wonder how much my quality of life would improve..how much more time, quality time, I would have to spend with my family.

Has anyone turned a glimpse like this into a reality? I’d like to hope so.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

It’s a Miracle!

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So. Much. Pain. Orencia is really not enough for me and with my second wrist surgery next Friday, I’m off NSAIDS.

When I was picking up my prescriptions this morning, I went to the “home health” aisle looking for something. I wasn’t sure what. I already have compression gloves, a TENS machine, pain killers, topical pain relievers, and a brace for almost every part of my body.

I saw these:

I’d been meaning to order IMAK compression socks for awhile..they’re only carried online..I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Yes, these look cheesy (as seen on TV) but I was desperate!

Did they instantly make me feel like I could go run a marathon? Uh, no. Did I feel like I could walk around my house and not be on the verge of tears? Yes!

Maybe it’s a placebo effect or that I’m  reaching that little part of the day, between the morning stiffness and the afternoon pain and fatigue, when things are bearable. Either way, I’m pleased to have discovered a tiny miracle at my local a Walgreens.

 

 

HAWMC Rheumatoid Arthritis

Good Samaritan

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We love random acts of kindness. Write about a time that you benefitted from the kindness of a stranger, or a time when you were the one extending a helping hand. How did you feel? #HAWMC

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On March 6th, I had surgery on my wrist. In anticipation, my rheumatologist suggested I get a handicap parking tag. She said I should have one anyway, so I agreed. I took the application to the MVA and felt extremely self-conscious. I don’t look sick. I don’t use any assistive devices, aside from the insulin pump, aka my pancreas, strapped to my side.

Fast forward a few weeks post-surgery. In retrospect, I should have waited and had my husband or son help me at the store but being as hardheaded and stubborn as I am, I went on my own. I still couldn’t lift anything heavier than 1lb with my left hand, but that wouldn’t stop me. I parked in a handicapped spot for the first time and did my weekly Target run. Anyone that has a teenage son, a preteen daughter, and a hard-working husband, knows that a weekly Target run means a cart filled to the brim. It also means that the entire cart of food will be gone in three days, but that’s another story.

I managed to check out successfully and got to my car, which was in the very first handicapped parking spot. Despite the fact that my left arm was in a brace and that by that time, I was walking much slower because my feet were killing me, I still felt unworthy of using the spot. I popped the trunk and started putting the bags in, one by one, with my good arm. A man and his wife came up to me and offered to hold my cart so it wouldn’t roll away. They then offered to return my cart to the store and said they hoped I had a nice day. I thanked them and watched as they went into Target, put the cart back, and then came right back out and went to their car. They were done shopping but had seen me and stopped what they were doing to help.

Their gesture was small and to them probably didn’t mean much. But it did to me. It showed me that despite my perceived notion that people were going to judge me or find me unworthy of using a handicapped spot, this couple knew there had to be a reason to park there and didn’t assume anything other than the fact that I might need a little help.

HAWMC Rheumatoid Arthritis

Key to Happiness

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What do you think is the key to happiness? Is it being able to overcome a hard time? Laughter?
Maintaining a positive attitude? Tell us what you
think and why. #HAWMC 

I find this post rather fitting for me tonight. I would love to pour out how I feel about laughter and how it connects me to others and brings me great happiness.

The truth is, right now, when I’m in pain and exhausted, what makes me the happiest is changing into comfy clothes. Loose yoga pants and a hooded sweatshirt can do wonders for me. I swear they make my pain diminish just a bit as soon as I put them on. Could anything make me happier right now? I guess comfy clothes, in my bed, under a fluffy comforter, wouldn’t hurt! ?image