I don’t know what I think I know

In the 15 years I have lived with type 2 diabetes, I have not had many meltdowns. I have suffered from diabetes burnout, denial, periods of anger, periods of negligence, and overwhelming moments courtesy of the endocrine rebellion I have been subjected to by my body. But I have not cried or thrown pity parties that often. Not the kind of pity parties where I bawl like a baby because I just don’t know what to do and no one understands me. Well, I had a fantastic meltdown last night when I was supposed to start my Lantus treatment. Why? Because I am afraid of hypoglycemia in the middle of the night and not knowing what to do.

Sure, I have dealt with a few lows here and there; my worst one being a 52 mg/dL that came with some disorientation and face numbness. Other than that, my lows are very rare and not that bad—most of them have been “false” lows when my body is trying to trick me. But a real bad low where I don’t know where I am or what to do? Nope, I don’t remember that, and I am terrified.

Now, we are talking about basal insulin, the one that has a long lasting action and a starting dose of 10 units. Insulin veterans must be laughing at me. But hey… I have never used the stuff before, and my body may get crazy, you never know. I have gotten mixed stories; people telling me they were OK, people telling me that they went really low, etc. I guess we are all different, but I think my fear comes mainly from the fact that I am supposed to do bed time Lantus, I am alone at night because my fiancé works 3rd shift, and I don’t think I can rely on my cats to help me that much.

After expressing my fear to a few people, one of them actually told me something that surprised me. She said I should learn everything I can about hypoglycemia and go from there. Now, wait a minute… I thought I already knew everything I can about hypoglycemia. Are you telling me I have to do the Hypoglycemia 101 course all over again? And if that is the case, does it also mean I have to relearn everything I think I know about diabetes? I guess I will have to go all Socrates… ipse se nihil scire id unum scia… I know that I know nothing. 

But I will be brave tonight, and I will take my Lantus. I am prepared with an alarm clock to test in the middle of the night, a bottle of glucose tabs, and juice boxes. What I need now is to keep on being the same brave human being I have always been and grab this insulin fear by the horns. I am sure my pancreas will thank me.

And then it got really cranky!

I had my regular diabetes check-up this week. The last 7+ months have been a constant battle, trying to figure out why my A1Cs have been so bad. I have been on Victoza for about a year now; it never stopped making me sick, and it obviously did not do the trick. Apparently my beta cells finally decided to take a leave of absence, and what once was a cranky pancreas, is now a full-on angry one. I wonder if I should change the name of the blog… again. J/K

My doctor decided it was time for me to try basal insulin if I was open to it. I told her I have never been afraid of insulin; in fact I think insulin therapy is a wonderful thing (you go, Dr. Banting!). Of course there was the feeling of failure… but no, I did not fail. I had a friend remind me that diabetes is a progressive disease, and this was bound to happen. I guess my pancreas gave me a good 15 years of overtime.

My butter compartment is now occupied by Lantus pens (which made me think of Lee Ann), and I will start this new phase of treatment this weekend. The doctor will decide about meal time insulin as we go. I have been pestering people with all kinds of questions (Thank you, Matt, for all your patience), and I have also been afraid because let’s face it, we are talking about insulin here. But I don’t have to be specific about that.  And all those questions, all those fears, made me realize I had to come back to the only group of people who completely understand what it is like to live with diabetes. Starting insulin for me is like having to relearn everything.

I realized that I was right… the DOC has kept me in check in one way or another, and I need the community from which I have learned so much. At some point I felt withdrawn and probably overwhelmed, so I left. But after seeing my doctor and having so many questions, I realized I needed the support. And I also need that daily reminder that when dealing with a chronic disease, it is better to turn to those who live with it as well. 🙂

Diabetes Alert Day

Did you know more than 25 percent of Americans who have type 2 diabetes don’t even know they have it? Are you one of them? Today people from around the country will take a simple test that can change their lives. We’re calling on you to Take It. Share It. Step Out.

There has never been a more urgent time to know your risk. An estimated 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes.

The Diabetes Risk Test asks you to answer a few quick questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

It takes only 60 seconds and it could save your life!

We can’t waste any time. Take the Diabetes Risk Test today and share it with everyone you care about. Chances are someone you love is at risk, and early detection can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and its devastating complications.

 

Pinch, Poke, Go!

It took me 1 month to stop worrying about the side effects warnings, but I finally started my Victoza. My body didn’t have a lot of fun adjusting to the new medication, but I survived the first week with the 0.6 mg dose. There was some nausea, a lot of dizziness, and the feeling that a Mack truck ran me over. At some point it got so annoying I actually asked for half a day off from work while I crossed my fingers so the crappiness would go away. It subsided eventually, but then I was worried about increasing the dose to 1.2 mg. No issues there!

I have been on Victoza for 3 weeks now. I can’t say I feel wonderful, but all the initial side effects are gone, my blood glucose levels are in range, and I feel like I have a controlled, normal appetite; in fact, some days I just make myself eat something healthy even if I’m not hungry, with the sole purpose of taking my metformin pills at dinner time. I take my Victoza before I go to bed; the needle is a joke, I barely feel it. I am so excited about the pen I even got a special sharps container. I’m silly like that, but maybe it’s a good thing that I’m excited about the new medication because that will help me with compliance which has been my main problem.

And this thing is working! I hadn’t waken up with a BG of less than 150 in a long time, I hadn’t seen anything below 200 after I ate either. Now I’m seeing a bunch of 90’s when fasting, and my post-meal levels don’t go over 160. The only fear I had was the pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer risk, but last week I welcomed the news that the FDA eased the concerns for GLP-1 medicines. So far, so good. Let’s hope my next visit to the doctor shows an improved A1C.

 

On Valentine’s Day

Lack of access to insulin is the most common cause of death for children with diabetes in many countries around the world. In fact, in some parts of the world, the estimated life expectancy of a child who has just developed diabetes could be less than a year.

This Valentine’s Day our community can help change that.

Through the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign, we raise awareness and donations for Life for a Child, an International Diabetes Federation program which provides life-saving diabetes supplies, medication, and education that children in developing countries need to stay alive.

Spare a Rose, Save a Child is simple: buy one less rose this Valentine’s Day and donate the value of that flower to children with diabetes. Your loved one at home still gets flowers and you both show some love to children around the world who need it.

One rose, one month of life. A dozen roses, a year of life for a child with diabetes.
We’re hopeful that you will embrace this cause this year.

Spread the word!