#dblogweek – Making Diabetes Change

1269975_69331015Perhaps it’s because my sleep patterns are off (a combination of jet lag that still haunts me and a four-year-old who thinks it’s fine to wake me up at 2am because [insert a four-year-old’s logical excuse here]), but when I thought about change, all that came to mind was the old SNL skit about First CitiWide Change Bank.

 “At First Citiwide Change Bank, We just make change.” 

 “We will work with the customer to give that customer the change that he or she needs. If you come to us with a twenty-dollar bill, we can give you two tens, we can give you four fives – we can give you a ten and two fives. We will work with you.”

The topic for today’s Diabetes Blog Week post is about change:

Either tell us what you’d most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people’s perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  

I’ve seen a lot of changes in the last three decades when it comes to diabetes management.

We changed exchange lists (Oh, how I hated the “2 Breads, 1 Meat, 1 Fat, 1 Milk” mentality!) for counting carbs.

We changed blood glucose meters that took two minutes for a reading to ones that give that reading in five seconds.

We changed syringes with long needles for short needles, mixed pork and beef insulins for analogues.

We changed insulin pumps for better insulin pumps and inhaled insulin devices.

I’m not saying that these changes are bad. They’re not. They’re prolonging lives and making diabetes more manageable.

But we’re still just making change. 

I want a cure.

 

Do You Want An Ice Cream Cone?

Ice Cream ConeThere is a question/joke we tell in our family when we talk about lousy choices, which immediately came to mind when asked what other chronic health condition I would take on in place of my Type 1 diabetes.

Don’t ever ask a four-year-old:

“Do you want an ice cream cone or to never see your parents again?”

Because, well… mmmm….ice cream.

Today’s prompt for Diabetes Blog Week 2013 is such a loaded question and I’m not a four-year-old (at least not chronologically): If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes?

A chronic illness is defined as a debilitating medical condition that can interfere with an individual’s way of living a normal life brought about by different symptoms and effects lasting for longer than a short period of time. There are no shortage of them and they run the gamut from “I can probably live with that without too much of an issue” to “Get the bucket list out and start checking stuff off”. Some are transmitted, others are non-communicable. Doesn’t really matter how you get one. Once you’ve got it, you’re stuck with it.

I quickly put whole categories of chronic illnesses to the side:

  • Does it cause physical pain? (Colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.) Off the list.
  • Does it mess with the nervous system? (Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.) No way.
  • Does it impact breathing? (I’m scared of not being able to breathe, along with spiders and being stuck in an elevator listening to Zamfir. COPD, Asthma, etc.) Move along.

Doesn’t leave much for me to choose from. And I’ll just steer clear from the organ failure and cancers and HIV/AIDS avenues, thank you.

But here’s where the four-year-old ice cream cone question comes into this. I wouldn’t trade my disease. (I’d like to have it cured, but not traded.) I can control my diabetes. I’m in charge. If I want to run high all the time and run the risk of complications, it’s my choice. Yes, there are serious issues to deal with on a daily basis and it’s not a disease I would wish on anyone. But…I have three cousins who have MS (we are the auto-immune disorder family in a big way). They don’t have a choice in how they feel from one day to the next. I have known peers who had Huntington’s and aplastic anemia who were taken early from this life without an opportunity to fight. I’ve seen the other options.

So, if I had a choice of an ice cream cone or to never see my parents again (diabetes or another chronic illness), I’ll pass. *

There’s a part two to this prompt today: And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions?

Nope, it hasn’t. My heart breaks the same for all medical conditions. My voice is available for all my friends and acquaintances with other conditions. I donate to other medical condition causes, because I know how much it means to want a cure.

Diabetes Blog Week Button*So, if forced to choose a chronic illness to switch, it would be periodontal disease. (Yes, it’s a chronic illness. Says so on the Internet and you know how the Internet never lies.) The pics are kind of gross, but if you keep up a regimen of proper oral hygiene and dental appointments, then you can keep most of the bone/tooth loss at bay. (Of course, you know that diabetes are very prone to having this already, which I do. I have already had the deep scale cleanings for periodontal disease, so I know I could handle it. Now, can I have my ice cream cone?)

Never Gonna Give You Up

RickAstleyNeverGonnaGiveYouUp7InchSingleCoverOf course there are accomplishments in my life that I’m proud of achieving that are diabetes related.

  • Overcoming the “I’m immortal, so I don’t have to take care of myself” attitude.
  • Loving myself enough to not destroy my body through diabulimia to be thin.
  • Taking the plunge with an insulin pump and a CGM, despite the extra work it entails.
  • Starting DiabeticFeed back in 2005 when the DOC was just starting to form.
  • Deciding to kick more than one endo to the curb because they were not the best fit for me.
  • Understanding that there is no such thing as a quick fix to a long-term chronic illness.

But the accomplishment that tops them all is this:

I have never given up on myself.

There have been moments (some that lasted a blink, others that lasted longer than Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidawhen I’ve wanted to chuck the lot of it and run away. I’m not just talking about my diabetes; parts of my life have been less than stellar. I didn’t. I didn’t give up. And now I have a supportive husband, an enchanting child, a growing-exponentially online supportive group of friends, and a renewed sense of hope.  I’m not going to give up on myself. Or my diabetes. Ever.

These people didn’t give up either. And I love each of them for showing us that it can be done.

So, here’s to them. And to you. And to me. For not giving up.

And to Rick Astley for this.

Yes. You have been Rickrolled. You’re welcome. 

 

Diabetes Blog Week ButtonI’m participating in Diabetes Blog Week 2013. Here is today’s prompt:

We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you’ve made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small – think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.).

Petition To My Body

Ink and QuillWe, the undersigned, the resident of this diminutive, yet feisty, amalgamation of DNA from my mother and father and that mud pie eaten at the age of two, draw the attention of my body in which the resident is currently housed, to the following:

  • That the lack of cooperation and ensuing war between the immune system and the pancreas of the body has caused irreparable damage and unending bloodshed to said body due to the annihilation of beta cells.
  • That the failure to play nicely with all systems (nervous, circulatory, endocrine, reproductive) has resulted in the loss of brain cells and lacrimal fluid by the petitioner.
  • That despite all valiant efforts, the petitioner can still not eat pizza or bagels without cursing the body.
  • That even with the latest medical technology, the body still refuses to comply with the whispered pleas of: “Please, just have a normal blood sugar day for once.”

Therefore, the petitioner calls upon my body to:

  • Stop being a jerk and start doing what I tell you.
  • Digest food properly and in a timely manner.
  • Grow another 7 inches in height.

(I will take two out of three.)

Signed,

Christel

And the entire time I wrote this, this was what I was singing.

Damn, I love Schoolhouse Rock.

This is part of Diabetes Blog Week. Here’s today’s prompt:

Diabetes Blog Week ButtonRecently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) – get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change?

Want to see more of today’s petitions? Click here for the full monty. 

525,949

Diabetes Blog Week

This week, I’m participating in the 4th Annual Diabetes Blog Week. A whole bunch of great people are writing about the same topic each day, so you get a lot of different views. To see what everyone else is saying, click on the link at the end of this post.

Here’s today’s topic:

Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one’s daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don’t see?

Dear Doctor,

You look at my chart. Review my pump settings. Ask how I’ve been feeling. Write a few prescriptions. Listen to my heartbeat. Thump a tuning fork and let it vibrate against my ankle. Shake my hand good-bye.

We’ve shared about 25 of the 525,949 minutes in a year. Let me tell you about the minutes you don’t see.

Most of them aren’t spent obsessing over my diabetes. I’ve got other obsessions: my daughter, my husband, our future, when the next Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch will finally be filmed. I have places to go and people to harass spend quality time with and diabetes can get in the way. And lately, I’m frustrated with that.

I’m not the perfect diabetic. (Yes, I know. The blog title? Me being facetious. Tongue so firmly implanted in cheek that I’ve bored a hole through it.) But I strive to be better than I was yesterday. I test, I contemplate, I think before I choose what I’ll eat. Numbers have become the bellweather of my days and those numbers have a firm grip on me and my sanity.

I spend 525,949 minutes each year with my diabetes. There is no break. When I walk out of your office, you go on to the next patient. You probably do not think of me until you are handed my chart to sign off on my lab report (which is another set of numbers telling you very little about me) or when you see my smiling face in your exam room.

I hate blood. I hate needles. Hated them before my diagnosis, but am now stuck (yes, pun intended) with both in large quantities. Of the 525,949 minutes, at least 4,000 of them are spent sticking myself. Some people get off on pain; I don’t.

Then there are the minutes on the phone fighting with insurance (And I do mean fighting. I have not ever called them to say: “Great job and thanks for covering everything I need!”) or talking with pharmacists or calculating how much money it’s going to cost this year to stay…alive. But it gets done so I can enjoy the rest of the minutes I do have.

There are the minutes I spend worrying about some of the past minutes in my life when I didn’t take care of myself and how it will impact the future minutes. And then there are the lost minutes when my blood sugar is low or high and my brain is fuzzy. I miss those minutes the most, because I can never get them back.

I want to enjoy more than these 525,949 minutes this year. I want many more minutes. I need your help.

Thanks,

Christel

Want to see other views: The 2013 Diabetes Blog Week participant list…