My Diabetic Adventure…

I am not a doctor just sharing my crazy adventure on this journey.

The wonderful world of diabetes is figuring out how to regulate the body to get enough insulin to process the blood glucose in the pancreas and liver.  Do you know the liver stores glucose in case we have a famine? Do you know that in different types of diabetes we have high blood glucose in our body, either too much insulin, insulin resistant, not enough insulin, or no production at all? Yes, they are different types of diabetes… More than two actually…

My diabetes journey began in 2012 when I started noticing I was sweating profusely, thirsty all the time, and needing to urinate a lot more than normal. I had previously had a hysterectomy, so sweating was not necessarily something odd with hormones… I had just had three years of steroid injections and radio frequency nerve blocks in my spine due to pain. I can thank many falls like belly flops in a West Virginia creek bed or falling on my bottom in my garage on the wet concrete during a rainstorm. That is what happens by being in a big hurry to grab something in a newly mopped kitchen only to fall on my left hip. These were just some of the clumsy episodes in a six-year time period. I had way more than those traumas to the body, but these were the most stupid…

My mother was visiting and noticed that I was not feeling well and having these odd occurrences’. My dad had been diagnosed and suffered from, Type 2 Diabetes, as an adult in his fifty’s. He regulated his diabetes through exercise, diet, and metformin. My uncle, his brother, had been diagnosed, I believe in his 30’s, with Type 1 diabetes after a car accident. He required insulin shots around the clock. We had some knowledge, but we were not prepared for what followed. Turns out, during researching my family lines, I found out my paternal great grandmother had Type 1 diabetes. She died of pancreatic cancer at the young age of 48. That is traumatizing and scary knowing that she was so young. 

I put mama on a train, yes that sounds funny, no I did not throw mama from the train… Then, I went to my doctor’s appointment. My urine showed protein and my blood glucose was 240 fasting… The doctor told me welcome to diabetes. She put me on insulin injections four times a day. Three fast acting shots a day for eating meals and one long lasting at nighttime that roles over and helps in the next 36 hours. 

Testing my blood sugar by pricking my fingers to check how high my blood glucose was in my blood, and giving myself four shots a day, made me upset. I decided to research and found that low carb diets seem to be the thing to lower blood sugar. I started the low carb diet that year and continued on it. The good news is in six months my A1C was down from 8 to 5.5. I was able to get off insulin injections and just use metformin for the next five years and the low carb diet. I would get labs drawn every 6 months. I noticed in 2017 that my labs started showing my own insulin levels were becoming less than they should be and the doctor said she would start checking them more often to make sure I was not becoming Type 1. She started me back on insulin with four shots daily. No matter how faithful I was to my diet my blood sugars numbers continued to rise. My A1C went up to 7. More testing was done, and my insulin production had decreased in a 3 months’ time from .8 to .5, where 0-3 is normal. The doctor told me I was turning Type 1, and decided to declare it, based on all the labs. I started considering the Dexcom G6 sensor as I had a few lows from 2014 to 2019 that would drop out down to 40, often so quickly I could almost not react by myself.  

I decided to get a Dexcom G6 and it was the best decision so far! You change it out  the sensor every ten days and the transmitter every 90 days. The transmitter sits inside of the sensor. You set your parameters for lows and highs to alert you on your PDM, phone, and to a few other peoples’ phones. So far, I have not gone below 48, on the Dexcom G6. The 48 was because I had not eaten, was busy, and still had insulin on board. It fell quickly! It does not go straight down to below 55, as I set mine to alarm at 80, and an ugly cry when dropping towards 55.  Thankfully, I always keep glucose near me. I’m coming up on the first anniversary of using the Dexcom G6 in November 2020. 

I started the Omnipod Dash pod pump system in December 2019, and it was a rocky road. Why you may wonder? Not the normal reason I assure you. I had been on the keto diet and did not  have enough information on using the pump, diets, or anyone in my life with Type 1.  I thought I needed to go back to the regular way of eating. It is what others were most aware of as I still tend to have to educate people on the keto diet. It became am coming up on my one-year anniversary of using the Omnipod Dash pod pump system.

I am so thankful to have both the Dexcom G6 sensor system and Omnipod Dash pod system.  It will take you a bit, but you will eventually find the correct basal hourly doses and boluses for eating. It literally took me four months to get my numbers under 200 for the most part. I continued to tweak my numbers by .5 and started seeing more improvements. It was weird how stubborn blood sugar can be and I learned that eventually you are going to have to figure out if certain foods are more stubborn to blow up your blood sugar and create insulin resistance. 

Problem is Type 1 is not like Type 2 where you can – sometimes – clean up your bad dietary habits and it will go away. Some who are diagnosed Type 2 have taken the necessary route and found they can lose their diagnoses. There are those though that their bodies for whatever reason has stopped making insulin in part or whole and eventually required insulin for the rest of their lives, like myself. It is shocking for us adults who find ourselves no longer getting by on our own insulin production and a death sentence without hourly insulin injections. We were all told Type 1 was a child’s disease. There are those out there that still need to be educated about the other versions of diabetes. (That is both doctors and regular people.) There appears to be a few types of in between and classifications. Ignorance will get us DKA (Diabetic Keto Acidosis), or killed… It sounds like a lot of people first find out they are Type 1 diabetic due to extremely high blood sugars that land them in the hospital very sick without even knowing they have it. 

Noticing that my feet hurt worse when my blood sugar runs over 200, I had to be more assertive to figuring out how to tweak my numbers and diet. Lowering carbs helped get my overall health back in place, but Type 1 diabetes is not a one size fits all, nor is it something to set and let it coast. It seems to have a mind of its own. You can have fluctuations due to illnesses or even exercise. You have to be alert to what your body is doing 24/7, or you may not wake up… 

On the other hand, you work on it till you get it figured out, then you keep watch, and keep on doing what works. Do not give up. Be brave. Give yourself time to mourn. Then get back up off the ground, and live. Living is putting one foot in front of enough going forward. Sometimes it requires sitting, or even lying down to rest and recover. Healing usually is not up to normal standards, and you have to be patient. We can only do so much, and sometimes we need to give our bodies time to slow down, and heal. Though, that requires professional care. You know, antibiotics for those stupid infections we are susceptible too.  Had a nasty insulin pocket in my abdomen that took a good 6 weeks to heal… Just make sure you are also giving your mind healthy rest, exercise, and rejuvenation. Depression can kick us in the butt, but we need to get help before it staples us to a wall… 

I recommend trying to keep your mind sharp while your body may get down. A mind that gives up has no motivation to keep the body going. You have stuff to offer others. Get involved, consider volunteering when you can, sometimes we need to be useful, and feel wanted… Rock on my dear diabetics, fight the good fight…

I know a Type 1 diabetic that is in his 90’s. He gives me hope that we can live a long and happy life…

Published by Voice of Reconciliation

We all need a voice and this is my platform to help others and myself share our thoughts.

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