Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hope personified.

I took my son to our local library branch for story time this morning. Shortly after we arrived a spunky grandma type sat down next to me. She had a little girl and some sort of fluffy toy dog in tow. (She quickly explained to the librarians that her pet was an assistance dog.) Normally I hate small, yappy dogs but Chocolate (hee!) was extremely well-behaved and never made a peep. She responded to her name when the librarians included her in the welcome song. So cute!

After story time was finished, I was wrangling a book and my son. I overheard a magic diabetes word which made my ears perk up just like Chocolate's had -- "...when I'm low."


When things had quieted down a bit I approached the lady. "Excuse me, but did you mention a low? Do you mean that Chocolate is trained to detect low blood sugars?" The lady smiled and said yes. I said I'd had Type 1 for about nine years. She responded, "Me too -- but for 58."



We exchanged the usual chit-chat about diabetes -- how things have changed since her diagnosis, was it hard for her to switch gears to carb counting, do you wear a pump, do you wear a CGMS, how is your pregnancy going -- but what struck me over and over was how vibrant, intelligent, and well...healthy she appeared to be. She even mentioned how she's hoping to "be a guinea pig" for a Swedish non-invasive blood glucose monitor. I mentioned that I recently attended a seminar for islet cell transplants* and she shared the experience of one of her Type 1 friends who has undergone the surgery. ("She's cured, basically, but she can't be around her grandkids or she risks getting very sick. It's been a tough trade-off for her.") So not only was this 58-year veteran of Type 1 looking great physically, she was also up to date on the latest diabetes gadgetry, research, and more or less hip with the kids in every way. I was so impressed, and so heartened for my future. She does have hypoglycemia unawareness -- perhaps an inevitable eventuality for every Type 1 after a certain period of time. But at least she has Chocolate to help her fight back! Turns out she didn't acquire Chocolate intending her to be a "low detector" but Chocolate rose to the occasion, so she's been officially certified.

Chocolate is awesome in more ways than one, yes? And even if I make it to 58 years with this damned disease, Type 1s like the woman I met this morning make me feel better about tomorrow. If she could survive the dark ages of urine testing, syringe sharpening, and a serious lack of ice cream ingestion, I can make it through our current dark ages. I'm actually kind of excited about the lights that might be ahead.

*More on this later...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sad? Or angry?

I dunno, I'm kinda going with angry right now. What a way to "celebrate" diabetes month. The 18 year old brother of one of my best (Type 1) friends was admitted to the hospital today with a blood sugar over 500. New member of the club that no one ever wants to join. CURE? NOW? PLEASE? I don't know what else to say. Yeah. I'm pissed.

Dumb diabetic deliberations

Last night I was treating a low with grape flavored glucose tablets. (My personal favorite flavor, although I really wish someone would come up with cherry already. What's your tablet of choice?) It was then that I noticed they matched the color of my pajamas exactly. This amused me way more than it should have. Or maybe it was just the 53 mg/dl addling my brain.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Because I never post here anymore

Why not do a meme? (I suck at blogging. Oh well, see first entry. I knew it from the start.) Saw it on Kerri's blog first:

What type of diabetes do you have: Type 1

When were you diagnosed: March 31, 2002 (Easter Sunday...damn you, Easter Bunny!)

What's your current blood sugar: Dunno, have yet to do my fasting. It's early, man.

What kind of meter do you use: One Touch UltraLink or the One Touch UltraMini

How many times a day do you test your blood sugar: Not pregnant, about 6 times a day. Pregnant (like now)...uh...well. With my first pregnancy it was about 15 times a day. With this baby so far, closer to 8 times a day. I'll be stepping it up as the second and third trimester insulin resistance ramps up.

What's a "high" number for you: Anything over 150 mg/dl, unless I'm only 1 hour post-prandial in which case I ignore pretty much any number.

What's do you consider "low": Anything under 80 mg/dl. 70s (and even 80s) are almost never stable numbers for me, and mean that I'm headed to the diabetes basement.

What's your favorite low blood sugar reaction treater: The quickest cures are 4 glucose tablets or a juice box, but eating a whole sleeve of cookies is more fun.

Describe your dream endo: Also Type 1. Preferably female. Realistic. Honest. Up to date on the latest technology and open to discussion. Sensitive to the emotional impact of diabetes. Way better at math than me.

What's your biggest diabetes achievement: Keeping my A1C in a good range since diagnosis? Having a healthy baby? I dunno. I think keeping my sanity while living with this disease is my biggest achievement.

What's your biggest diabetes-related fear: Being alone and low with no carbs and no way to get them. Or some sort of apocalyptic nuke/deserted island scenario. It pisses me off that I wouldn't have a chance.

Who's on your support team: My friends with Type 1, my husband, my endo (who isn't my "ideal", but who is pretty decent all things considered)

Do you think there will be a cure in your lifetime: Like so many others, at diagnosis I was told that it was a "great time to have this disease" because we were "so close" to a cure, and also that it was so much easier to manage than it had been previously. I agree on the second part, not so sure on the first. I think it's more likely that the diabetes community will have the opportunity to sample ever-fancier band-aids for our condition as medical care progresses, but I'm pretty sure I'll have to pick my jaw up off the floor when/if someone figures out how to stop my immune system from being such a crazy bastard AND manages to resurrect my pancreas (and thyroid). I think there will be an effective treatment for the newly-diagnosed before there is a treatment for the old-timers, which makes me both excited and insanely jealous.

What is a "cure" to you: A true cure would be as I stated above -- stop or reverse the autoimmune response, return all hormones and C-peptide levels and islet cells and who knows what else to normal. Normal function, without any mechanical bells or whistles or whatsits attached to or inside of my body.

The most annoying thing people say to you about your diabetes is: I can't decide between the "You can't eat that" diet assumptions or the "Your pump takes care of it all for you" assumptions. One assumes the disease is much more limiting than it actually is (and implies that I'm either some sort of saint or some sort of dismal failure), and one assumes that there's nothing to worry about.

Don't get me started on how angry the word "compliant" makes me. That goes way beyond annoying and into ignorant/offensive territory.

What is the most common misconception about diabetes: That it is controllable, 24/7/365. Also, if a person has complications from the disease, it is his or her fault.

If you could say one thing to your pancreas, what would it be: I'm sorry this happened to you. Let's go have some cake.