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2,016 Miles in 2016 Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Resolution to move!

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2,016 miles in 2016!

This year I’ve committed to walking/running/crawling/dancing my way to 2,016 miles in 2016! This resolution was an easy one for me to commit to in theory. Getting my steps in each day makes my blood sugars better, makes them more consistent. Walking makes my joints feel better (my knees haven’t gotten this memo yet but they’re working on it) and will strengthen the muscles around my joints, providing them with better support.

So how does 2,016 miles translate to daily goals? I need to get between 5.5 and 6 miles in each day. This is about 12,000 steps or so depending on the activity I do. On days I’ve been feeling strong, I’ve tried to get a little more than 6 miles to cover the days where my joints are angry and having nothing to do with any resolution I’ve made.

Every Sunday I plan on updating this graphic to keep myself accountable. I track with my Fitbit and they calculate my weekly miles to make it easy for me.

What resolution(s) have you made? Are you still going strong on Day 10?

Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Best Thing

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Day 4 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: What is the Best Thing that has happened since you received your diagnosis(es)?

Hands down, the best thing to happen to me is the online support system I have now that continues to grow. Rheumatoid Arthritis isn’t too common and but throwing Type One Diabetes into the mix makes you even less common.

I’ve managed to connect with a few people, all over the world, that are *lucky* enough to have both diseases. I’ve also connected with so many people that have RA, Type1, or another autoimmune disease. Having their support and advice is priceless.

I hope that I can support others even half as much as they have supported me.

Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Who on your healthcare team are you most grateful for?

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Day 2 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: Who are you most Grateful for on your healthcare team?
  
Having multiple chronic illnesses is hard. Having both Type 1 Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis is especially difficult. One of the standard treatments for RA is prednisone which makes life with diabetes hell. Other issues aren’t as well known. Stress can raise your blood sugar and so can pain. Rheumatoid Arthritis causes tremendous pain and I am often battling with my blood sugars as a result. 

I’ve had Type 1 for over 27yrs and have always felt the need to be a “perfect” diabetic which translates to “perfect” blood sugars. At my last endo visit, I told my doctor how hard it had been to manage my blood sugars while my disease flared. She looked at me and said “you’re doing the best you can”. Those little words meant the world to me. She saw me as a person, not just a “person with diabetes”. 

Therefore, the person I am most grateful for on my healthcare team is my wonderful endocrinologist. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is RA?

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Today is Day Three of RABlog Week! In case you aren’t following along, here is today’s writing prompt:

Explain your RA – perhaps you want to tell someone else, (doctor, sibling, child) pick a person and decide what to tell them. You might want to tell them about living with RA or what it is like to have RA? Perhaps you want to write a letter to a fictional person. You might also choose to write to a newly diagnosed person about life with RA.
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Today’s prompt seems..impossible. How do I explain a disease that I don’t even understand? A disease that seems to have a mind of its own? A disease that wreaks havoc on me one day and the next day seems to have all but disappeared.

I often compare Rheumatoid Arthritis to Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes, which I’ve had for over 27 years, is simple to explain. My pancreas doesn’t do its job, it doesn’t make insulin. Therefore, I take insulin. Diabetics have a variety of ways to take insulin- shots, pumps..even in an inhaler. But the drug that does the job, 100% of the time, is insulin. Nothing else. It’s quite another story with Rheumatoid Arthritis. There are a multitude of drugs out there. Some are pills, some are injected, some are given via IV. What works for me, might not work for you. And what works for me, won’t work forever.

How does it feel to have RA? Have you ever been in a car accident? Remember the day after when it felt like every muscle, muscles you didn’t even know existed, ached. An ache that nothing seemed to make better. Have you ever had the flu? Think of the chills you got from the fever, the pain you had, even in your little finger joints, the exhaustion, the nausea. That’s how RA feels. It feels like you had the flu and got in a car accident. Every day.

To quote my son, who just leaned over my shoulder while I was typing, “getting in a car accident and having the flu? That sounds horrible”.

Type 1 Diabetes

Silly & Unnecessary 

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Is there something repeatedly that you do, that’s silly and unnecessary, but you keep doing it anyway? For me, it’s when I’m in the shower. After I put shampoo in my hair, I rinse the shampoo off my hands before then using my hands to help rinse the shampoo out of my hair. I have no idea why I do it and I think to myself every morning “why are you doing this?!”.

I do a “silly” thing with my diabetes too. I associate the kitchen with juice. I know, crazy, right? When I have a low blood sugar, my brain makes me go to the kitchen. It has done this for 27 years. Why is it silly? Because there is a bottle of juice and a pack of fruit snacks on my nightstand (as well as a pack of gum to remove the sugar from my teeth..yes, I’m a dork). There’s also this great guy, my husband, usually asleep next to me, who would take care of me whenever I needed him.

As a teenager, low blood sugars would cause my hands to shake. In fact, if I couldn’t tell if my blood sugar was low or not, I would always hold out my hand and see if it was shaking. This resulted in quite a few broken glasses on the kitchen floor from either trying to pour juice into them or drink from them.

I changed my CGM sensor site last night before bed…I rarely do it at this time but oh well. I woke up in the middle of the night to test my blood sugar and realized I couldn’t read the display. After multiple tries, I could read it. It said 33. 33. Did I wake up my husband? No. Did I reach for my nice warm apple juice? No. I got up and walked down the stairs to the kitchen. I was sweating profusely and I’m lucky I didn’t trip over the cat, who was so excited to have someone else up in the middle of the night. I also had the nerve to make sure my Fitbit was on me so my steps to the kitchen would count. I’m ridiculously annoyed with myself.

Do any of you do something similar? Have you trained yourself to stop?

Type 1 Diabetes

Friday Foods

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Taking a cue from Adam Brown’s recent post, write a post documenting what you eat in a day!  Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever.  Make it an ideal day or a come-as-you-are day – no judgments either way.  (Thank you, Katy of  Bigfoot Child Have Diabetes for this topic.)
Well..this is definitely not an ideal day for a diabetic! I worked from home today, which I don’t normally do. And my husband was off work which isn’t normal either! Typically I pack pretty good food for work, lots of little meals- banana, slice of cheese, yogurt, FiberOne bar, etc. 

I started my day with a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Why? Because it looked delicious and it was. So. Good. Lunch was with my husband at Mission BBQ. Pulled pork with a side of fries. Delicious. Only complaint? I’m so used to my boring tuna or yogurt that I felt super dehydrated due to all of the salt! Husband picked up dinner from our favorite local pizzeria but my Rheumatoid Arthritis is making me feel pretty nauseous and in a bit of pain so I don’t really feel like eating yet. 

We don’t normally eat out much so I figured my blood sugars would go nuts. Nope. I’m running a 120 right now. I’m sure I could do the exact same things tomorrow and my blood sugar would be 250. Go figure! 

Want to see what more of my fellow diabetics ate today? Click here

Type 1 Diabetes

Changes

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“Oh, you have diabetes? What type?”

“Type 1.” I reply.

“Oh, my cousin has Type 1 too. She lost a lot of weight and now she’s only on one pill every day. Maybe you’ll be able to get rid of your pump one day!”

Vomit. 

I can’t recall how many times I have had this conversation in some way, shape, or form. I hate this conversation. Why? Because by asking me which type I have, you’re implying that you know the difference between the two. But you don’t. I hate this conversation because it starts with me feeling like I’m going to connect with someone over their relationship to my type of diabetes and it ends with me feeling frustrated. 

Yes, diabetes is bad. It sucks. Will there ever be a cure? Maybe, I don’t really know. But what I do know is that no amount of miles run, weight lost, vitamins consumed, gluten avoided, cinnamon sprinkled, will bring my pancreas back to life. 

It. Won’t. Happen. 

I wouldn’t dare go up to someone with cancer and tell them how I think they should treat their disease. I wouldn’t go up to someone with an amputated leg and tell them that if they stopped consuming gluten, their leg will magically come back.

So what change do I want? I want people to be educated. To start, I want all health professionals to know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It should be in their “So You Want to be a Doctor” handbook. Every physician’s patients are impacted, if they are Type 1. Surgeon? Yep, longer time recovering/healing, risk of infection increased. OB? Yep, that’s a high risk pregnancy. Primary Care? Yep, how is that medicine you’re prescribing to me going to effect my blood sugar? Podiatry? Cardiology? Pediatrics? Yep. Yep. Yep. 

Vent over. 

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!