Non-sense Lows

For about a month and a half I have been experience something that is new for me: Bad hypoglycemia. I’ve seen a few 65+ on my meter before, usually when I wait too long to eat. I start feeling low at around 72-ish, but lately I have seen numbers on the upper 50’s and for the first time in my diabetic life I have felt that horrible numbness people describe. Let me tell you, I am sorry for every person whose blood glucose levels go low often and feels like their lights would go out any time.

Are these regular hypos normal for me? Absolutely not. I have type 2 diabetes and I take metformin. Technically, my medication does not make my pancreas produce more insulin, it just helps my body take insulin better. But here I am, experiencing a daily low, sometimes two, without a logical explanation. I am not waiting too long between meals, I am not overindulging on carbs (rebound and all that), I am not doing a lot of exercise, etc. And believe me, seeing a 56 on the meter, even with accuracy issues, was not a good thing.

So I called my primary care doctor yesterday because I knew I would get a hold of her faster than my endocrinologist. After many questions, the nurse had her call me back and I was hoping she would say it was only a question of lowering my metformin dose. It turns out she cannot explain what is happening to me; it could be the medication, it could be something else. She asked me if I had other symptoms like headaches, nausea, etc. And of course my mind started going places… like WebMD, to look for symptoms and pancreas and all that scary stuff.

This morning, my PCP contacted my endocrinologist so they could figure something out given the fact that as of now I do not have health insurance. Advice was to stop the metformin all together, see how it goes and call back in a week. If blood glucose levels do not go low, then there will be a medication adjustment. But if I am still having hypos, they will have me come in for tests. Hearing your doctor say “I really do not know what is going on, this is not normal,” is not a very reassuring thing.

So here I am, on diabetes limbo, and hoping it is just a medication issue. Not having health insurance is frustrating, especially when I try to take good care of myself and my body just decides to riot against me. My gland are just unhappy.

Diabetes, Support and Courage

What can I say that hasn’t been said by the people who attended the Roche Social Media Summit in beautiful Indianapolis at the end of July? I can’t really resume everything that went on, and my journalism skills are no where close to those of people like Michael Hoskins, who wrote about the summit in such a wonderful way. So I’ll let you read his post on Diabetes Mine to get a better idea of what went on in Indianapolis and why it is so important that we have a group of people working hard to make a difference in the diabetes community. Make sure you read the things that have happened since the first summit in 2009.

My post will be mostly about things I learned about how to handle the emotional side of diabetes, which seems to be the side I’m more interested on. Some people like the politics of it, some others like the technology aspect of it. Me? I’m all for how to handle the huge spider web in my head and the heads of others when it comes to diabetes and the impact it has in our lives, dreams and hopes. Diabetes makes me cry… because it makes me sad and frustrated, but also because it has shown me what human connections are and what an important role they have.

Let’s start by talking about this wonderful young man named Josh Bleill, a community spokesperson for the Indianapolis Colts. Josh lost both legs in an attack in Fallujah while he was deployed. He talked about the importance of having a good support system, especially made of people who truly understand what you are going through. His biggest support came from another amputee and it was what eventually helped him make the jump. No matter how difficult a situation is, we have to look at those around us and distinguish the many stages of progress through any kind of recovering process (physical or emotional). It is true that just because someone is having a harder time, it doesn’t mean our hard time isn’t that important, and we all should be willing to learn the lesson that every story has behind.

Josh talked about how much we want to give up sometimes and how difficult it is to shake those feelings off; life doesn’t seem that fair sometimes. I’ve been there… I AM there. Listening to Josh Bleill speak in such an inspiring way reminded me that I have the best support group I could ever get: my diabetes community. And it’s not only about diabetes; it’s about life in general, because being able to make things happen in that niche shows me that I can make things happen anywhere. And that brings me to the next big moment of this summit: meeting Steve Richert from Living Vertical.

Steve is a type 1 diabetic who decided to climb for 365 days while managing diabetes in extreme conditions, along with his wife Stefanie. Talk about a challenge! There I was, listening to him and feeling sweat on my hands because I’m extremely afraid of heights. So no… climbing may not be for me, but what I learned from him is that we make our own limitations and I find myself working on a Ph.D. degree on that, and that is not a good thing. From Steve I learned that I have every right to believe in the power of my dreams and convince myself that I can make things happen. And OK, this may not  be something new to me, but Wendy put things in perspective when she said how wonderful it is to know that her daughter, who has type 1 diabetes, may one day be the one climbing. And that’s what this was about… believe that no matter now many challenges there are, if we really want something, we will get it if we put effort into it.

So that’s my recount for today. More on the summit later. 🙂

The Right Kind of Inspiration

I’m not one to vent my personal life in public; I find it distasteful. I may post something here and there because feelings get the best of me sometimes, but I try to keep it quiet, or at least inside a very close circle, when it comes to life’s challenges. I’m going through a divorce. It isn’t fun… it’s very painful in fact. The people I love the most know about it and they give me the support I need. For that I’m extremely grateful. I just never thought the Diabetes Online Community would be another source of comfort for me during this time. Not only comfort, but inspiration.

This past weekend I attended my 3rd Social Media Summit hosted by Roche Diagnostics, which I will post more about later. Being there, with old and new friends, showed me that, for me, advocating and working for people with diabetes is not something I do just for fun… It is a passion, it is something I want to do for the rest of my life, it is something I want get better at. And working so hard for DSMA and the community in general has given me a vision of what I want my purpose to be.

I’m kind of tearing up while typing this because I may not be very familiar with epiphanies, but there are times in your life when the road looks really dark ahead, but you can clearly see what’s on the other side. And my road is really dark right now. I’m living every day as it comes, trying to make the best out of a bad situation and trying to figure out what the next step is in order to grow as a person. I think I’ve known what I want to do for a long time… I was just afraid of making it happen, or afraid I couldn’t make it happen. But right now I feel like I can, I know I can. It may take a little while to get there, but I’m looking forward to the ride. Endings are new beginnings and this is my new beginning.

What is this great plan I’m talking about? I don’t have any specifics at the moment, but I can say that what I really want to do is to become is a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). I don’t know which route I’m taking yet —probably Nutrition— but I have the right kind of encouragement from people I trust and love, and that is a huge start. I think the A-ha moment came at my therapist’s office when she told me this is the time for me to work on what I really want and she painted a picture of what I can be/do. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it and I’ve taken the first steps already.

So thank you, DOC, for helping me find my purpose and passion… or making it clear.