Saturday, March 7, 2009

My Pal Diabetes

Okay so apparently not everyone knew I was a Diabetic, so I hit myself in the head, and thought, I should write about my learning I was a Diabetic. It was not pretty, LOL.

Diabetes runs in my family. My father is a diabetic, he learned about 10 years ago that he was Type 2. My Grandfather had been a Diabetic for years, he was on insulin, dialysis, etc., but this was before the pump you could get hooked to you. When he was in the hospital...ahhh sorry it gets me was when they wanted to amputate his leg and he was adamant about it NOT being done, and that was when he died.

So I knew it ran in the family, but I never thought I would get it, or had it. My father had been to this place, the Joselin Clinic after he learned he was Diabetic, so he took all these classes, etc. And he started noticing how much I drank, how often I seemed to need to use the restroom. And he started getting worried. I just thought, my pills give me dry mouth, so I drink a lot, and therefore I have to pee a lot. And it was brushed aside for awhile. But the drinking got more and more and the bathroom trips more and more and he decided NO, get over here. I have urine strips and I want to test you with my glucometer. The urine strip was as bad as you can get, and my blood sugar, even though I hadn't eaten for a while was almost 600. For the uninformed, a good number for not having eaten for a while is like 110. So an appoinment with my doctor was made, but first I had to go and have all this bloodwork done. I was so hoping it was just a side effect of a drug or a random occurence.

So my Mom accompanied me to the appointment where I was to go over the results with my doctor. Now let me set this up for you, I am a soda and juice loving girl who loves to have candy when I feel like it, and can't live without my sugary Koolaid. So I was not prepared for what I was told. I was told I had Type 2 Diabetes and he began talking, and to this day I am not sure what he said exactly. He prescribed Metformin for me and apparently my triglycerides were off the charts, which makes sense they are all related in this weird way, so he prescribed a drug for that, suggested the Josselin clinic if I needed more info, but knew Dad had it too, so I had knowledge available to me. (Did I go to Joselin? No. Should I have? Probably. But I am me, and did not/do not feel comfortable around strangers. Luckily I have my Dad who has it, and a nurse for a mother). So we left and I began crying. And crying. AND CRYING.

But did it stop there? Just crying? No, this IS me. This did NOT go over well. I had the biggest freak out/hissy fit/anxiety + panic attack/ranting that you can ever imagine. All while we sat in the car in the back of Sleepy's + Taco Bell, since I hadn't had lunch. I was so angry. SO angry, and I was mean too, to my Mom. I wish I hadn't been, but I was out of control. I was screaming, I was yelling, I was so scared. I was yelling about not giving up my drinks or candy, how I wasn't going to change how I lived, that this was unfair (really I have a theory which involves Danny Devito and I, which I will divulge sometime soon). We finally got to a place where I finally started just sobbing, the life was drained from me. We went home and my Dad and sisters were there, which only got me more freaked, so I lashed out moe about how I wasn't giving up the things I loved. Eventually, and man do I mean eventually, I ran out of most everything and my parents got to talk more. Even Sandy who did a paper in high school on Diabetes spoke up. My parents were trying to assure me by talking about moderation. That I could still have juice or soda, but it would have to be less often and less of it. That I would need to drink more milk and water, because I could go into diabetic shock or comas. That I could have SOME candy, but again, in moderation. And that they would help me. They would "suggest" I drink milk when we are out to a restaurant, if they had seen me with some soda or juice. Or stop me after 1/3 glass of soda and give me some milk, etc. Ways to help me get used to not being able to have the sugary things as much as I wanted.

At Easter and Valentines, we began getting less candy and more, like a new pair of PJ pants for us all, and a little bit of candy. Like this Valentine's Day, I found a pair of Fluffy Rainbow PJ bottoms and one of those tiny Russel Stovers hearts that has 3 chocolates in it. Did I cheat and get more after V-Day sale candy...yes I did, I am not the BEST Diabetic but I was careful. So yeah I was NOT a good reaction girl. It took a few months before the panic subsided. And then awhile longer before I got used to having my Dad check my sugars and having to have A1C tests every 3 months, kind of like a report card for Diabetics. Average blood sugars, triglycerides, etc.
And the first year, it slowly started going down in numbers slowly. And then I started getting good reports, I even put them on the fridge once or twice. Meds were working for me! I used to buy myself 2 small bottles of soda and 2 of Snapple every week when I went grocery shopping with my Mom. It got to be less, still some but not as much. And I got used to ordering milk when we went out to restaurants. But I did still indulge myself, just not as often. I had to be careful always with the candy at the movies, my Mom or Dad or even sisters took it away from me if I started eating too much, or looked like it even. I was still not the best, I didn't bother getting my own glucometer, I'd let my Dad check it, I never did it to myself, and I only tested it when they mad me. Hello, afraid of needles and sharp objects here!

Going hypoglycemic became my worst enemy. That is when your blood sugar falls too low, and for me at least, I get scary weak, I shake all over, I feel light-headed and dizzy, a lot of the times I sink to the floor. It is the scariest thing besides my surgery I have experienced and on a regular basis. I learned pretty quickly from my parents what foods to eat when THIS happened. OJ and peanut butter work the fastest. I learned that while chocolate/candy can do it really quick, it won't last and I will need something VERY soon (yes I admit I have used it as a reason to have candy sometimes, it is the one time my body NEEDS it, but when it is it's scariest...Momma please can I have peanut butter on bread and some OJ or apple juice?) Soemtimes I have needed help eating it, my arms are too weak and heavy to move on their own, and sometimes I have wound up lying on the floor, because there is no muscle in me to hold me up. It is extremely terrifying. The lowesy my blood has gotten (well that I am AWARE of) is in the 40's which is bad. This IS the time when I am best at taking my own blood on MY glucose meter. And yes I did eventually get my own, learn to do it to myself and get used to it. Do I do it every day, a few times like I should? No, I still suck.

But then came the days where my report cards started to get bad again. So my Metformin was upped, more drugs were added. Still no improving, even after all sorts of different things over the next few years. Even when all these natural vitamins like fish oil, etc were added. I was up to about 12 pills just in the morning and 12 at night. And my sugars were not improving. We even tried to make me do better at home, soda or juice was less than ever, candy really did only happen mostly at the movies and not very much. But it did not matter. My Dad was really nervous that insulin was going to be the next step they were going to want to take with me. And he is not on insulin. This is when my parents presented me with the offer to have a gastric bypass. They had been looking at all the information Sam had gathered, saw the positives it had for Diabetics. When I told my surgery story, I mentioned, 90% of patients who have the bypass are off ALL diabetes medications. And while yeah my vanity was running in a competition in my brain with the diabetes worry, it was like...WOW, I could be off ALL these meds I am on, and have good sugar levels!

So as most of you are aware I had the surgery. And no numbers do NOT go down immediately, what did you think, it was an immediate cure? I was on less meds, heck remember I could barely drink an ounce of sugar free shake with protein. And yeah, has the sugar intolerance made it a wee bit easier to TRY and be good? Yes, you have no idea how horrid "dumping syndrome" is. So I HAVE had a small piece of cake that then goes, "oh no you didn't" and I run to the bathroom. Lucky because when you are done you feel better quickly, not so with dumping. Anyway, with this surgery you have to relearn to eat, so sugar free koolaid was too sweet for me for weeks, I had to have half sugar free koolaid with half water. But because of the intolerance, I began to find alternatives to SOME of my addictions. Koolaid with Splenda is THE best. No I don't drink soda anymore, and I don't like many juices, so I only have apple or orange when I am hypoglycemic (that has gotten worse since the surgery), and I have Orangeade or something like that rarely. Tonight I had Snapple Orangeade for the first time in like 6 months, not all at ONCE though, I know where I will run to if I drink it too fast. I found sugar free candy that is good (don't jump it is only the twizzlers and york peppermint patties and russel stover coconut that are good, everything else...uck), some SF ice cream is good, but man...bad air!LOL! So I admit I have built up a tolerance for candies, and do indulge, and my whole family gives me either grief or takes it away ( I am actually okay with that), but I do know because of the surgery, I will have repercussions if I over-indulge (sometimes even if I don't...seriously. 3 bites of a birthday cake should not have you dying in the bathroom) which is good in some sick way, I am ridding my body of the sugars or grease. But best of all, I get up in the morning and check my blood...115. I eat a regular meal and check it an hour later 180. Those numbers are REALLY good. I do have a sweet tooth, so bad Wendy, but I am pretty good too. When we go to the movies, I have a movie bag. Yes there is regular candy in there (for everybody too), but I also eat handi snax and 1/3 less sugar granola bars. It is a habit now. Handi snax or nachos/pretzels first and then later if I feel like it, some candy. Right this week with candy? Bad BAD Wendy, but I think if I had my period (don't because of the shot) it would be right now, I can't get enough chocolate!! But I haven't gotten sick so I must be somehow not overdoing it badly. Goodnes knows how.

So I am 3 years out of surgery and my numbers are brilliant, I haven't had to get an A1C test in forever, but even I have to admit, why NOT? Hmm, maybe my doctor should WANT that still!! Anyway, much to my chagrin, no not being on pills does NOT make me cured. I will always be a Diabetic, as I son learned when I had my first post-op hypoglycemic episode. Which has really sucked, it happens a LOT after I have eaten and don't want to eat anything else OR when I have just been sick and the last thing you want is to eat anytime soon. It happens randomly too, a lot, so it is weird that this aspect has worsened since the surgery, but being down like 16 pills a day? Totally worth it.

So I still struggle daily with Diabetes, it will never go away, I will always be a Diabetic, but thanks to my family (their support and help) and the surgery (forced me into some habits) it is in control most of the time. I am perpetually afraid of a diabetic coma or diabetic shock, which is why I religously wear my Med-Alert bracelet (which WAS my Grandpa's., so it has sentimental value even more, we both had/have this disease and wore the same bracelet) and have a card in my wallet that says I am Diabetic. I even have those gosh awful Glucose pills that are ucky. Like HUGE chewable vitamins, but you have to eat like 3 and they are HUGE!!

So there you have it, my Diabetes story. I did not react to the news well, and am not the best Diabetic ever made, but I am getting better at it. Slowly, but compared to the first year or so? I am SO better than then. AND it is true about diabetics feet and legs. I scar very easy, even a shaving nick, just never goes away fully. I try and take care of my feet and legs. I do not want to be a patient that is told, you need an amputation. So when I get crack heels, I go for the cream. I moisturize like crazy, and no my toenails are clear thank you very much. And I have to have my eyes checked by a specialist (so did not work out well, I went to Sears and had them do it over so I got the right script) because of trouble with our eyes. So no it is never going to be over, this battle, but I have finally accepted it, it is a part of me. I can only hope my siblings never have this, or any of the future grandkids of my parents. I hope none of you will ever have to experience this disease. Nothing about this disease is fun, and it IS a disease. Unless they find a cure, people like me, and those with the worse kind, Type 1, will always have this sickness, which is why whenever they have something for sale like a bracelet that says Fight for the Cure, I buy it. Even if it is just for Juvenile Diabetes, if they can find a cure for that, they are going to be much closer to finding a cure for us all.

P.S. My Full Name through this weird generator anagrams to :

'Every warm demoniac.'


8 meaningful meanderings:

Kristina P. said...

Wow, I had no idea! My mom is Type II and she does NOT take care of herself. It can be manageable, if you work hard. I'm sure it's not easy. I think I would freak out!

in time out said...

Wendy...I just LOVE how you share your experiences. You are so real, and so amazing, and the fact that you write shows courage and a bravery that is not often found. Hugs to you for your bravery, and thanks. I only wish that MANY more people could read your posts.

Hey, I mentioned you in my post today about St. Patricks Day. Maybe, if it is alright, I will do a linky to you ... let me know and I will change that. will have others come read you.

Also, my mom was terribly diabetic. Insulin based...she finally at 65 has gotten it under control...I don't know how she did it. But after 40 years...

Also, my grandmothers and my sisters.

I would have responded the same way you did...don't be hard on yourself. Hugs to you...

The Boob Nazi said...

I don't want to think about diabetes. I know I'll get it.

Sheri said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing that with us. My dad is Type 2 diabetic and my half brother is too. Neither of them take care of it properly really though. I'm afraid I'll get it one day because I'm overweight and I too drink a lot and pee a lot. Water makes me pee a lot though and I drink 8 glasses a day... and some soda and coffee. :(

So said...

I think a freak out would be totally normal from anyone. That is a difficult diagnosis to deal with. That anagram is crazy! :)

Amander said...

I think freaking out is probably common. I'm sure I would.

LadyStyx said...

Considering that I have this disease (among a few others) on BOTH sides of my family, it's just a matter of time. Mostly they've gotten the one where it can be regulated with diet. A couple, however, have had the one where the drugs were necessary to regulate things. My Great Aunt on my dad's side was on insulin twice a day because it was so bad. She lost her legs and ultimately her life to this nasty disease. At this point, I have not been diagnosed with it (fasting number is never higher than 110 and after I eat around 130). My biggest problem at this point is that the sugar likes to drop. Thankfully, I've learned the signs my body gives off and can get something into me in enough time. I was put on Glucophage a while ago for another ummm problem and my body simply cannot handle it so I have no clue what they'll do if I have to eventually be medicated...

Lee said...

I couldn't handle that! I'm so bad at managing to take my vitamin in the morning. I'd be in a diabetic-coma really quick.

I have a feeling I helped spur this on, huh?

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