Archive for the ‘srsly?’ Category

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Worst patient ever

October 4, 2010

Last week, I came home to a large white envelope sitting on our doorstep. I looked at the mailing label, which had my full legal name. Whoa, I thought, this must be important. The return address confirmed it: Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.

My medical records from diagnosis through high school were in this envelope.

Requesting my records had always been at the back of my mind, but I was never sure that they were still there (since a lot of hospitals destroy old patient records after 7 years or so). Finally, Chris urged me to get them, saying it couldn’t hurt to try– but he also said, “But don’t get your hopes up, just in case they’re gone.” I called Children’s Hospital and talked to a cheerful lady in the Records department. Imagine my excitement when she said, “We don’t destroy records.” HOLY SMOKES!

So now, here they are, after having traveled across the country. It’s a thick packet, about 100 pages, of my [very bumpy] journey with type 1 diabetes. There were things in there I already knew (such as my bg at diagnosis: 327), but the things that interested me the most were the clinic notes.

Those were really hard to read. I saw myself go from a totally compliant 9-year-old girl to a monstrous teenager who didn’t give a shit about good control. Hey, other teens did drugs, drank at parties, had unprotected sex…me, I fudged my blood sugars. I keep telling myself it could have been worse. :P

I found all my lab values and made a timeline:

07/08/1993 – 14.8 (a little over a month after diagnosis; I have no record of getting an A1c taken at diagnosis, so this is the closest one)
02/24/1994 – 11.8
05/19/1994 – 7.5
08/11/1994 – 8.9
09/15/1995 – 7.6
12/14/1995 – 8.5
05/24/1996 – 8.3
08/30/1996 – 7.8
11/22/1996 – 7.9
02/28/1997 – 8.3
09/19/1997 – 6.5
01/30/1998 – 6.4
08/07/1998 – 7.7
04/23/1999 – 9.9
08/27/1999 – 8.2
03/17/2000 – 9.8
06/09/2000 – 9.4
10/27/2000 – 11.8
06/01/2001 – 9.9

Seriously, WTF was I thinking? 11.8?! I fluctuated so much during my teen years…maybe it was a reflection of my raging hormones?

And on the WTF front, I thought I was being so slick testing a billion times the nights before my endo’s appointments, changing the date and time on my meter with each test (Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this…remember, I was 16!!!). I wasn’t fooling anybody: “She certainly has a marked discrepancy between her home glucose testing and her A1c values. What is quite remarkable in looking at her home glucose values is that there is very little deviation of her glucose readings around the average value at any particular time of day. This is quite unusual to see such a small spread between the highest and lowest numbers even on someone who is taking multiple daily injections. I would be a little suspect as to the validity of all these measurements.” AY!

My other favorite comment was: “We do not have any log books today, as Faye reports that she ran out of log books since it has been such a long time since her last visit.” Right, because I couldn’t buy a notebook myself, or even better, use a piece of paper?

Perhaps one comment that kind of struck me as weird (now, at least) was from the dietitian. I remember not being too fond of her; I guess the feeling was mutual: “She has had difficulty with compliance issues and is not maintaining as tight a control as we know she is capable of.” It’s funny because now, I think I’m pretty compliant, and working harder to get my A1c as low and stable as possible.

It was interesting looking back at the first 8 years of being diabetic. Even though Chris was the one who encouraged me to get my records, I’m a little hesitant to let him read them…I’m ashamed at what the last few years held. He said, “It’s okay. You were a teenager. The important thing is that you realized the importance of good control, and you’re doing a good job now.” :) I was glad he said that, because honestly, I was starting to feel like I was the worst patient ever at Children’s Hospital!

To end this post, here’s a picture of me at my First Communion, about a month before I was diagnosed (also the skinniest I’ve ever been in my life):

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Retinopathy and a good A1C

September 14, 2010

About six months ago, my optometrist found a cotton-wool spot in my eye and advised me to see a retina specialist. I slightly freaked out, but Dr. P assured me that it was harmless and it was a very common side-effect with those who have had diabetes for as long as I have. (I use the term “side-effect” rather than “complication” because it’s not quite a complication yet, but I’m hoping it won’t get to that.)

I asked my boss if he knew anyone, and he referred me to Dr. B. Dr. B specializes in the retina, and more specifically, he specializes in diabetic retinopathy. My first appointment with him absolutely freaked me out– he said he wasn’t worried about the retinopathy (“It’s normal for someone who’s had diabetes for 17 years”) but saw something else he was more concerned about. He told me to go upstairs to see Dr. T, a neuro-ophthalmologist, right away.

At this point, I was starting to have a panic attack. WTF was going on with my eyes?? You never get referred to another specialist that quickly unless something is wrong.

Turns out the nerves in my eyes are swollen. Dr. T said she couldn’t be sure if it was just how I was born or if it was truly a problem, so she scheduled me for an MRI (those things are freaky as hell, btw). The results ended up being that everything was fine, that’s how my nerves really look. Fat nerves, I guess.

Fast forward to yesterday, to my six-month follow up with Dr. B. He didn’t seem to agree with Dr. T’s assessment of the MRI scans. Then he said, “There is a little bit of hemorrhaging, but it’s hard to tell if it’s because of the diabetes, or because of your nerves.” He called it a pseudo tumor…and of course all I heard was TUMOR.

“Wait, what?! I have a tumor?!”

He assured me that it wasn’t a real tumor; that’s why they called it a pseudo tumor. And I thought, “Holy crap, can you call it something else?!”

Dr. B said that, at my next appointment with Dr. T, I needed to have a talk with her to see what was going on, what’s in the future, and what I should be doing.

So here’s my dilemma. One doctor says I’m okay; another says I’m not. One doctor is telling me that it’s hard to tell what’s going on with my eyes because of another problem. The other one is saying I’m fine. Who do I believe?

I saw my endo today and gave her an update on yesterday’s events and a quick recap of what happened six months ago. She agreed that the two conflicting opinions was a little strange, but everything seems okay otherwise. I don’t have floaters, or random flashes of light, or blurriness (aside from the blurriness due to my craptacular vision).

She also mentioned a study that I found kind of ironic: if a person goes from a high A1C and suddenly goes to a good one, it actually makes retinopathy worse. Makes no sense, but it is what it is. I told her that prior to going on the OmniPod, my A1C was in the mid 8’s. Six months after I switched, my A1C was 6.9, then it dropped to 6.5, hung out at 6.2 for a few months, and my most recent one is 6.1.

We’ll keep monitoring it. I’m hoping this really isn’t a serious issue, as both ophthalmologists are looking out for different things, but it’s really bugging me that two experts have conflicting assessments. Maybe I need to get a third opinion?

That being said, my endo visit today was a LOT better. My labs are good, my A1C is great (I’m still pushing for under 6, but hey, I’ll take 6.1), and everything is going well on the Ping. I do have a lot to work on in terms of getting in shape and losing weight before it’s time to think about a baby (and piling more weight on my body), so Lord help me with that. For some reason I think it’s easier to work on a stable A1C than it is to lose weight! O_o

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The choice is obvious

August 22, 2010

Last night, I was going through the case in my purse that holds all my beetus gear. Lo and behold, I found my glucagon kit eight months expired. Uh, oops…I’ll get on that at my next endo visit.

Since I’ve thankfully never had to use one of these, an expired kit meant I finally get to see what’s inside! I cleared off a space on my desk and got to work.

First, I popped open the vial of glucagon powder. It was a little harder to open than an insulin vial but it made that same satisfying snap.

Next, I removed the needle from the case and uncapped it…only to be greeted by this thing:

WTF. For crying out loud, why is the needle so damn big?!

After figuring out how the kit worked and marveling at the crazy bubbles coming back into the syringe, I posted my shock of the needle on Facebook and Twitter. Mike called it a harpoon, and he isn’t too far off the mark. I wouldn’t want someone coming at me with that, so I’m glad I’m [supposed to be] unconscious when this is used on me.

I had a completely different response on Facebook, and one of the comments made by a friend got to me: “I don’t know how you could do that!” It irks me, as it’s along the lines of “I could NEVER inject myself multiple times a day!” Well, let me ask…

If you were given a choice between daily insulin injections or death, which would you pick?

I know it’s a little extreme to put it that way, but not taking your daily injections/medication can and will lead to your untimely demise. It’s not easy having to prick my fingers multiple times a day and be hooked up to various pieces of technology that monitor my blood sugar and control my insulin. It’s not sexy, it’s not convenient, and it’s definitely not something I prefer. But do I have a choice? Sure I do, but the choice is pretty obvious to me: test, treat, inject/pump, make sure everything is on track. Rinse, lather, repeat. It’s become so much a part of my life that I don’t even think twice about doing it. I just do what is needed in order to not just live, but to live a healthy, and hopefully long, life.

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Sweet Poison

July 28, 2010

My mom forwarded Chris and me this chain letter, asking us to do some research. Our main source of chain letter myth busting told us that this claim indeed FALSE. I’ve bolded the part that I found especially ridiculous.

In October of 2001, my sister started getting very sick.  She had stomach spasms and she was having a hard time getting around. Walking was a major chore.  It took everything she had just to get out of bed; she was in so much pain.

By March 2002, she had undergone several tissue and muscle biopsies and was on 24 various prescription medications.   The doctors could not determine what was wrong with her.   She was in so much pain, and so sick she just knew she was dying.

She put her house, bank accounts, life insurance, etc., in her oldest daughter’s name, and made sure that her younger children were to be taken care of.

She also wanted her last hooray, so she planned a trip to Florida (basically in a wheelchair) for March 22nd.

On March 19, I called her to ask how her most recent tests went, and she said they didn’t find anything on the test, but they believe she had MS.

I recalled an article a friend of mine e-mailed to me and I asked my sister if she drank diet soda?   She told me that she did.   As a matter of fact, she was getting ready to crack one open that moment.

I told her not to open it, and to stop drinking the diet soda!   I e-mailed her an article my friend, a lawyer, had sent.   My sister called me within 32 hours after our phone conversation and told me she had stopped drinking the diet soda AND she could walk!  The muscle spasms went away. She said she didn’t feel 100% but, she sure felt a lot better.

She told me she was going to her doctor with this article and would call me when she got home.

Well, she called me, and said her doctor was amazed!  He is going to call all of his MS patients to find out if they consumed artificial sweeteners of any kind.   In a nutshell, she was being poisoned by the Aspartame in the diet soda… and literally dying a slow and miserable death.

When she got to Florida March 22, all she had to take was one pill, and that was a pill for the Aspartame poisoning!   She is well on her way to a complete recovery.  And she is walking!   No wheelchair! This article saved her life.

If it says ‘SUGAR FREE’ on the label;   DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!

I have spent several days lecturing at the WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE on ‘ASPARTAME,’ marketed as ‘NutraSweet,’  ‘Equal,’ and  ‘Spoonful.’

In the keynote address by the EPA, it was announced that in the United States in 2001 there is an epidemic of multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus.  It was difficult to determine exactly what toxin was causing this to be rampant.   I stood up and said that I was there to lecture on exactly that subject.

I will explain why Aspartame is so dangerous:   When the temperature of this sweetener exceeds 86 degrees F, the wood alcohol in ASPARTAME converts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes metabolic acidosis. Formic acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants.   The methanol toxicity mimics, among other conditions, multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus.

Many people were being diagnosed in error.   Although multiple sclerosis is not a death sentence, Methanol toxicity is!

Systemic lupus has become almost as rampant as multiple sclerosis, especially with Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi drinkers.

The victim usually does not know that the Aspartame is the culprit.   He or she continues its use; irritating the lupus to such a degree that it may become a life-threatening condition.   We have seen patients with systemic lupus become asymptotic, once taken off diet sodas.

In cases of those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, most of the symptoms disappear. We’ve seen many cases where vision loss re turned and hearing loss improved markedly.

This also applies to cases of tinnitus and fibromyalgia.   During a lecture, I said,  ‘If you are using ASPARTAME (Nutriara Sweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc) and you suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting, pains, numbness in your legs, Cramps,
Vertigo, Dizziness, Headaches, Tinnitus, Joint pain, Unexplainable depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, or memory loss you probably have ASPARTAME poisoning!’   People were jumping up during the lecture saying, ‘I have some of these symptoms.  Is it reversible?’

Yes!  Yes!  Yes!
STOP drinking diet sodas and be alert for Aspartame on food labels!   Many products are fortified with it!   This is a serious problem.   Dr. Espart (one of my speakers) remarked that so many people seem to be symptomatic for MS and during his recent visit to a hospice; a nurse stated that six of her friends, who were heavy Diet Coke addicts, had all been diagnosed with MS. This is beyond coincidence!

Diet soda is NOT a diet product! It is a chemically altered, multiple SODIUM (salt) and ASPARTAME containing product that actually makes you crave carbohydrates.

It is far more likely to make you GAIN weight!

These products also contain formaldehyde, which stores in the fat cells, particularly in the hips and thighs.   Formaldehyde is an absolute toxin and is used primarily to preserve ’tissue specimens.’

Many products we use every day contain this chemical but we SHOULD NOT store it IN our body!

Dr. H. J. Roberts stated in his lectures that once free of the ‘diet products‘ and with no significant increase in exercise; his patients lost an average of 19 pounds over a trial period.

Aspartame is especially dangerous for diabetics.   We found that some physicians, who believed that they had a patient with retinopathy, in fact, had symptoms caused by Aspartame.   The Aspartame drives the blood sugar out of control.   Thus diabetics may suffer acute memory loss due to the fact that aspartic acid and phenylalanine are NEURO TOXIC when taken without the other amino acids necessary for a good balance.

Treating diabetes is all about BALANCE.   Especially with diabetics, the Aspartame passes the blood/brain barrier and it then deteriorates the neurons of the brain; causing various levels of brain damage, Seizures, Depression, Manic depression, Panic attacks, Uncontrollable anger and rage.

Consumption of Aspartame causes these same symptoms in non-diabetics as well. Documentation and observation also reveal that thousands of children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD have had complete turnarounds in their behavior when these chemicals have been removed from their diet.

So called ‘behavior modification prescription drugs’ (Ritalin and others) are no longer needed.
Truth be told, they were never NEEDED in the first place!

Most of these children were being ‘poisoned’ on a daily basis with the very foods that were ‘better for them than sugar.’

It is also suspected that the Aspartame in thousands of pallets of
diet Coke and diet Pepsi consumed by men and women fighting in the Gulf War, may be partially to blame for the well-known Gulf War Syndrome.

Dr. Roberts warns that it can cause birth defects, i.e. mental retardation, if taken at the time of conception and during early pregnancy.   Children are especially at risk for neurological disorders and should NEVER be given artificial sweeteners.

There are many different case histories to relate of children suffering grand mal seizures and other neurological disturbances talking about a plague of neurological diseases directly caused by the use of this deadly poison.’

Herein lies the problem:   There were Congressional Hearings when Aspartame was included in 100 different products and strong objection was made concerning its use. Since this initial hearing, there have been two subsequent hearings, and still nothing has been done. The drug and chemical lobbies have very deep pockets.

Sadly, MONSANTO’S patent on Aspartame has EXPIRED!   There are now over 5,000 products on the market that contain this deadly chemical and there will be thousands more introduced.   Everybody wants a ‘piece of the Aspartame pie.’

I assure you that MONSANTO, the creator of Aspartame, knows how deadly it is.

And isn’t it ironic that MONSANTO funds, among others, the American Diabetes Association, the American Dietetic Association and the Conference of the American College of Physicians?

This has been recently exposed in the New York Times.  These [organizations] cannot criticize any additives or convey their link to MONSANTO because they take money from the food industry and are required to endorse their products.

Senator Howard Metzenbaum wrote and presented a bill that would require label warnings on products containing Aspartame, especially regarding pregnant women, children and infants.


The bill would also institute independent studies on the known dangers and the problems existing in the general population regarding seizures, changes in brain chemistry, neurological changes and behavioral symptoms.

The bill was killed.

It is known that the powerful drug and chemical lobbies are responsible for this, letting loose the hounds of disease and death on an unsuspecting and uninformed public.
Please print this out or e-mail to your family & friends.

Thoughts?

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Diabetes burnout?

June 18, 2010

Most of the time, I’m completely fine that I’ve had this disease for so long. I’m completely fine explaining that yes, I am healthy and can have kids at some point. I’m usually pretty patient when someone says a completely ignorant comment (although my mind is screaming otherwise) and try my best to give them the correct information. I’m even patient when someone tells me, “Oh, diabetes! Yeah, that’s what caused my grandmother’s brother’s wife’s uncle’s cousin to go blind and have her leg cut off.”

But sometimes…sometimes it’s just too much, and I feel like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders by trying to deal with all of this on my own. It pains me that I don’t really have anyone around me who can relate. Most of my solace is found on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and forums, where I can interact with fellow type 1’s and we can all share in our joy and misery. While I’m not as close to the diabetes online community as I’d like to be, just knowing someone is there makes me feel better.

But sometimes I wish I could just pick up the phone (or I guess, in this day and age, text message and/or IM) and vent to someone who just knows.

Knows without my having to explain what a basal rate is and that I think mine off and needs to be tweaked.

Knows that it’s just one of those days where I’m bouncing all over the place for no reason.

Knows that, when I towel off after a shower, or get dressed in the morning, I need to pause for a second to think about where my pod and sensor are placed so I don’t end up knocking them off.

Knows that, when I choose a seat on the bus or train, I need to pause for a second to think about where my pod and sensor are placed so someone else doesn’t knock them off.

Knows that even though you are or you have lived with this, mine is not the same as yours and vice versa, and no, you cannot “literally feel my pain.”

Knows the excitement of getting a 6.2 A1C back from the lab, or having a fasting bg of under 100.

Knows that a beeping sound isn’t freaking me out because it’s a high-pitched noise, but because I’m scared it’s my pod malfunctioning.

Knows the highs and lows (literally and emotionally) of living with this.

I’m not quite sure if what I’m feeling qualifies as burnout. I don’t match up with the symptoms of depression. I honestly don’t know about this rut I’ve been in for the past few days, but I do know that sometimes I just need someone who knows what’s up without me having to explain the story of my life.

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The Ups and Downs

October 11, 2009

This past week was full of ups and downs, mainly with my bg going CRAZY for no apparent reason. Like this, taken a few seconds ago:

crazy bg

I mean, seriously?! What the heck? I spiked from 70 to over 200 in less than 3 hours, and I haven’t even eaten dinner yet! No amount of bolus seemed to work.

These are just one of the frustrations that pepper my otherwise boring existence. I guess you could say it adds excitement to my life, but I prefer the excitement of waking up at 7am and finding out that I was holding steady around 110-120 the entire night. That, my friends, is exciting to me (and to Chris, who wakes up randomly in the middle of the night to check on me– you know, make sure I’m still alive).

Now that that’s off my chest, it’s time to continue watching Sunday Night Football and make some dinner (shrimp, one of our favorites)!

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Those Bad Habits

September 8, 2009

Inspired by Kerri‘s blog and other diabetes blogs, here are some bad diabetes habits I have…

  1. Overcorrecting a low. This gets me every time. Pre-CGM, I’d wake up in the middle of the night in the 30s. Freaking out that I’d pass out, I would drink three pouches of Capri Sun, eat two bags of fruit snacks (20 grams of carbs per bag), and eat a few crackers for good measure. I inhaled all that in less than 10 minutes. I’d wait the 15 minutes and test, and my bg would be in the high 80s, which is WAY too fast a rise in 15 minutes. Of course, an hour later, I’d be in the high 200s. It’s getting better now that I have Dex.
  2. Injecting in the same spot all the time. This explains my bump. Now, with my OmniPod, I keep using my arms. I notice they’re a bit chapped from the adhesive, but they’re my best spots!
  3. Bolusing extra for those sweet treats. My pediatric endocrinologist introduced this to me when I was in middle school. I totally abuse it. I need to stop!
  4. Skipping breakfast. I can’t help it; it makes me sleepy when I have something in my stomach. But it also makes my bg crash at 10am, thus making me somewhat high for lunch at noon.
  5. LOGGING! Or rather, lack thereof. Until Kerri introduced the Kevin spreadsheet to me, I kept starting and ending paper logs. Cute notebooks be damned, I couldn’t keep up. One night, I was doing my DexCom paperwork and realized they wanted 30 days of logs. Well sh*t! I realized I hadn’t logged in over a month. Yeah…that was a long night. I finally figured out that electronic logging is up my alley. So far, so good!
  6. Doing a crazy bolus if I’m crazy high. I’d rather correct a low than be sluggish from a high (overcorrecting that low aside). The other day, my bg just would not go down. I was in the 200s the entire night and morning, with no explanation. Finally, I got sick of it and injected 25 units. It worked at the time, but sometimes I crash an hour later. Sheesh.

I need to make myself feel better…Guitar Hero, here I come!