Thursday, August 1, 2013

6 months

6 months ago, today, I received my diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. 

I'm honestly not sure what to think about this "milestone" if you wish to call it that.  Some people have asked me, "has it flown by or dragged on?"...and really, I'm not sure.  I remember the day quite vividly as if it was just yesterday, however, it's hard for me to recollect what life was like before diabetes.  It's hard to imagine sitting down to a meal without evaluating it in terms of its carb exchanges and it's hard to remember what a day is like without pricking my finger six or eight times.  It's just become part of my life. It would almost be strange without these practices.  So with that being said...

5 things I've learned in 6 months:

1. I'm not embarrassed by my pump anymore.

My pump is unique in that I can put it almost anywhere I want, given there's allotted "cushion" if ya know what I mean. I alternate between my stomach and the backs of my arm.  Initially, I was weary about people staring at it and self conscious of what people are thinking.  Now, I really could care less. If they think it's ugly, that's their problem.  If they wore their pancreas on the outside of their arm, I can guarantee it'd be uglier than mine.

2. People aren't as nosey as I thought they'd be.

If you have insulin-dependent diabetes, it's not exactly something that's easy to conceal. I wear a medical bracelet, my pump is within plain sight half the time, and I check my blood sugar before every meal.  It's pretty inevitable that if you'll get a hint eventually. But with all that being said, no one really asks me!  I can't decide if people are worried they'll offend me or if they just down right don't care.  I would estimate that in the course of 6 months, maybe 5 people have asked me based on what I mentioned.  And just for future reference, I really love when people are curious.  

3. I'm definitely still learning.

Boy isn't this the truth! Diabetes is a continual balancing act.  There are SO MANY factor that go into blood sugar management, more so than just carbs and insulin.  I thought I knew a lot about diabetes prior to diagnosis, but experiencing it, first hand, gives me a completely new insight.  It's both challenging and neat all at the same time.  I know more about my body and what goes on inside than I ever thought imaginable.

4. Working out is a CHALLENGE!

Like I mentioned in number 3, blood sugar management can be so stinkin' tricky! Working out is probably one of the most difficult factors to figure in.  For months, I almost always went low after a workout, no matter what I tried.  I would either go low during, immediately after, or a much as 12 hours after a workout.  If I conquered one time-frame post-workout, I'd experience a low in another.  Well, 6 months later, I think I'm beginning to understand my body's response to physical activity enough to where I can avoid those.  It's about time! 

5.  Checking my blood sugar is nothing!

Not trying to boast necessarily, but I can check my blood sugar anywhere, and doing anything!  Shopping, driving (while at red lights that is), while walking and hiking.  It's quite the talent if I do say so myself...especially considering my 22-year old self pitched a full-blown temper tantrum the first time I ever had to check my own blood sugar. As of today, I've pricked my finger approximately 1,800 times.  (Also, if when I live to be 85, I will have pricked my fingers approximately 136,100 times.) The optimist in me thinks this won't be necessary though. 

I truly believes there will be a cure in my lifetime.  From what I've read, I think they're getting close.  But until then, I'm going to continue learning more, not only to better care for myself, but for others suffering from the disease too. I'm so thankful the Lord gave me a passion for nutrition and educating others.  He probably thought I would be a perfect recipient, and in that regard, I'm honored.

Lamentations 3:21-23 - Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Highs and Lows

Call me naive, but I thought this would be easier.

I understand the biochemical mechanism. I understand carb counting.  I understand glycemic index. I understand diabetes.

So how could it be THAT hard?

Enter life as your own experiment.  No textbook will ever give me the type of insight that living with the disease has given me (which is also rather convenient as a soon to be dietician).  With that being said, the past 2 months have contained an abundance of highs and lows.  I'm talking physical highs and lows here (however those do tend to result in emotional highs and lows, but that's a different post for a different day).  While these might just sounds like numbers, they reveal some pretty serious stuff that's going on inside of you.  And they change...often. Oh how they change.

Non-diabetics maintain a continual blood sugar level of 90-100, without any thought or effort. That's the goal here....for everyone.  It's not that simple for me.  Factors I have to take into consideration in order to maintain this ideal range:
  • What I eat
  • When I eat
  • The rate I eat
  • Am I going to work out
  • Did I just work out
  • Am I going to sleep in
  • Am I stressed
Whoa. That's a lot to consider! 

Needless to say, my blood sugars have been ALL over the place these first two months!  One minute I might be at 300 and 2 hours later, 50.  It's happened and it's FRUSTRATING! You feel so out of control.

I've started to become pretty sensitive to highs.  I get tired, hungry, and I get a bad headache.  Remaining high isn't good for your body, but it's not "scary" per se.  Lows on the other hand....those are scary! I get anxious, nauseous, shaky, dizzy, and panicked to the extreme. It's my body's way of telling me something is wrong and it needs to be fixed immediately. It's a pretty effective system right now too. So far, my lowest low as been 39. It happened in the middle of the night, which isn't exactly comforting either.

All this has really been interfering with my life these past two months.  I've had to leave classes, pull off to the side of the road, leave half-filled buggies unattended while I run to my car just to getaway, sit down, and eat something. 

There's another way it's affected me, physically speaking.  All these extreme fluctuations have caused my hair to fall out.  It's complicated to explain, but I'm told it's expected with out of control blood sugars.  It's vain, but it's one of the most upsetting parts of it all.  I remember taking a shower several weeks ago and experiencing the first "gob" of hair coming out into my hands.  It was drastic.  I cried...and cried...and cried (and with that, I must express how thankful I am for my mother who brings me back to earth and a roommate who prays over me and cries alongside.) And as an update, it's slowing down a little.  I'm still losing more hair than usual, but I'm hoping I've seen the worst of it.

I knew it wouldn't come easy, but I didn't know it would be this difficult.  But with that being said, I've made huge leaps as well.  Today was a victory in my eyes.  

This is a beautiful thing.  

Note the "within goal" portion of the above picture.  I've never seen that before.  In my eyes, this is huge.  It tells me I'm learning and it tells me that I'm not a victim of this disease.

Will everyday be like this? Probably not.  But for right now I'm celebrating every small victory that comes along with this journey.

2 Corinthians 4:17: "For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long.  Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever." 

Monday, April 1, 2013

2 month anniversary and a very special gift to me

(if you're just now tuning in, i urge you to read "the story behind it all" up top, in addition to my first post below.  otherwise you'll have no idea what this post is about. i'm watching out for you.)

today was a milestone day in my journey with diabetes.  

today, i received pump training and started using this beauty for the first time. behold.

to you it may not look like much, but this above is an insulin pump. i'm not exaggerating when say it will drastically improve my quality of life with diabetes.  it looks like a lot is going on here, but it's basically comprised of two parts, the personal diabetes manager (PDM) on the left and the pod on the right.  (the pod is what sticks to my body and delivers the insulin while the PDM (like a remote) tells it how much to give) i'll go into how it works in more detail eventually, but right now i just had to share my excitement.

it's pretty hard to gauge the size of the pod, so here's a visual courtesy of the box it came in.

 it's tiny! if you see me within the next few days, i dare you to try to spot it.

mine is unique in that it's very small and TUBELESS! this is a breakthrough in insulin therapy. other models are rather bulky and require long tubing for insulin administration. not mine :) 

i could go on and on, but i'll stop here.

 thanks for reading and sharing in my excitement with me! i have a great feeling about things to come.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

here we go!

welcome to there's love in it all! if you're asking yourself, "what's with the name?", i urge you check out "the story behind it all" in the tab above.  it's a wee bit lengthly but i think it's essential to know where i've come from and where i'm headed with this blog.

i'll give you a second to go there, read up, then come back. i'll meet you right here.

welcome back! 

there's no need to cue any sappy violin music.  this would get real old, real fast if this was all about me and struggles that come along with my disease. so what's the purpose of it all anyways?  

1. (possibly the most self-centered of them all) to serve as an outlet for me. a public journal of sorts. to serve as a record that will enable me to look back and see where i've come from.

2. to educate. perhaps i was a little naive in thinking that everyone was as informed about diabetes as i was.  as a nutrition major, diabetes, in some form or another, is discussed in almost every course.  when someone hears word that i have diabetes, their first thoughts are usually, "but you're so young" and "you're so healthy".  yes, i am both of those.  type 1 is a little unique and far less common. i've designated a tab above to give a simple, brief overview. read it. impress your friends.

3. to have fun! i'm not confining myself to one topic. (i can barely sit through an entire movie without getting all ADD, less likely blog about one thing forever and ever) so that being said, i plan on writing about style, beauty, crafting, and definitely food! 

4. to inspire. we all have our junk.  it might not be physical, but perhaps emotional or spiritual.  in some way or another i hope i can be an encouragement to someone. do i, personally, have this whole thing figured out? absolutely not!  every. single. day. i cling to the promises of God.  

5. to praise. like i've said before, i'm confident in saying that this disease is a blessing.  i have no doubt that this will bring me closer to my Jesus and (my primary motivator for starting this blog) that someone, anyone, will stumble upon this and be exposed to the healing power of our Savior.  He is my Peace.  my hope is that others might find the Peace too.