Friday, September 28, 2012

D is for Diabetes

For this week's Blogging through the Alphabet post, diabetes comes to mind. I rarely talk about my diabetes, and I'm not sharing about it this week because I want to draw attention to myself.

I'm sharing because as much as I try to pretend that it's not a big part of my life, it is. I'm sharing because I hope that someone will better understand a friend or a loved one.

My stream-of-consciousness take on diabetes:

I have adult-onset, type 1 diabetes.

No, I don't fit the standard profile for a diabetic. That stereotype (overweight, sedentary) is for type 2 diabetics and isn't even very helpful/useful in that case.

Easy explanation of types of diabetes. Diabetes is a disease of high blood sugars, but the underlying causes of the high blood sugar are vastly different. Type 1 diabetes is a problem with the pancreas. For children diagnosed with diabetes, the pancreas just up and quits. No more insulin. For adult-onset diabetes, my pancreas is just broken -- it kind of limps along in terms of producing insulin. Sometimes it'll spit out a bit of insulin, but often it doesn't. Type 2 diabetes is a problem using insulin (insulin resistance). The pancreas produces a normal amount of insulin, but the body decides that it needs even more insulin than it once did.

My purse always has snacks in it -- fruit snacks, allergy-friendly granola bars, a half a package of Starburst, etc.

I'll never carry a small purse. In addition to the snacks, I have my glucose meter, my glucagon emergency injection kit, and a tube of glucose tablets.

my super-cute purse; even though it usually weighs a ton
I stick my finger to check my blood sugar at least six times a day, usually it's more like 8 to 10 times.

I am always finding little test strips lying around, on the table, in the bathroom, fallen on the floorboard of the van, in the bottom of my purse, and so on.

I was super excited when I finally figured out a system to help me remember to rotate which finger is the next victim.

If I get a bit too hot, I struggle to figure out if my blood sugar is dropping too low. Living in Arizona doesn't help with trying to figure out if it is hot or if I just feel like it is.

The other night I spent my thirty second rest break during kickboxing checking my blood sugar. I then tried to choke down a glucose tablet while jogging around the room.

I once thought that glucose tablets tastes like giant sweet tarts.

I count carbs, but not because I'm trying to lose weight. Carbs equals insulin, and I can't do the insulin math without knowing how much I'm eating.

I limit my carbs. I can increase my insulin to cover a higher carb meal, but I usually pay for it. I either underdose and feel icky because my blood sugar is too high, or I give myself too much insulin and then suffer from a nasty low blood sugar spell.

I can play dress up and go to a military ball with my insulin pump hidden under my formal, but I still have to look at the buffet line and figure out what I can eat without taking the chance that I'll pass out in front of everybody.

Sometimes it doesn't matter if something is sugar free or not. Starchy vegetables or fruit can drive the carb count up as much as a small cookie does.

I grumble because the only vegetable that all three of my kids will eat willingly is high in carbs. (Lima beans for those that are curious.)

I love my insulin pump. I told my doctor last year that I wanted a pump for Christmas.

I'm sometimes self-conscious about the way I always have the pump on my waist. It looks a bit like a pager, but I don't know many other stay-at-home-moms that wear a pager 24/7.

Sometimes I'd like to wear a dress without having to worry about whether or not my pump garter will stay in place.

There's nearly always a scribbled note on my bathroom mirror reminding me what day to change my insulin pump site. Changing my pump site (i.e. injecting a new catheter under the skin) is not a favorite thing to do.

My stomach looks a bit like a pin cushion from previous insertion sites.

Sometimes it's a lot to think about. Even when my I have my blood sugars under control, diabetes controls my actions.

I may have diabetes, but I try not to let diabetes keep me from enjoying life.

I'm excited about what comes to mind to share as I blog through the Alphabet with my friend Marcy at Ben and Me. Please stop back each week to see what I'm sharing, and click the banner below if you'd like to see what other bloggers have on their minds.

Blogging Through the Alphabet


  1. I'm starting to find the strip wrappers in the laundry. lol

    It certainly requires some extra effort. I'd love to hear your finger pricking system. =o)

  2. I followed you here from Simple Living prerelease group :) I'd love to hear your finger pricking method too, I'm forever forgetting which finger I used last...except for those odd times that I can actually see the puncture mark. Type 2, or possibly still pre-diabetes with rare over 200 highs. Hypoglycemia diagnosis in high school.

  3. I am also an adult onset Type 1. I've been diabetic for 11 years now and pumping for about 9 of that. From the looks of it, we use the same pump, meter, and infusion set. ;-) Great post.

  4. Great post. My D post was on diabetes too! My niece was diagnosed with type 1 when she was 6 :(



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