Friday, October 30, 2015

The Big Reveal

T1D life: when in addition to making sure your legs are shaved for an outing, you also have to check and make sure--is my CGM bandage too ratty? How long has that moldering Band-Aid/Flexi-tape/Tegaderm combo been hanging on there anyway? And was it that greyish color when it started?? I mean, it's already a bit unusual looking anyway, so maybe it doesn't matter if it looks like swamp slime around the edges....hopefully....right??

It's an "invisible disease," sure...but only to a certain point. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

I'm Afraid of...

Dying at night.

It feels crazy to write that, because it's not every night and it's not all the time, but it is something that I think about probably more than the average person. I think I use this blog often to vent my frustrations. Or clear my head. Or share funny stories. It's not often that I like to be truly vulnerable on here, in real time. Usually I write about things a few days or weeks later, with a different lens, a calmer, more rational lens.

But last night I had one of those nights. You know that feeling that you get, where right when you're falling asleep, you feel like you step off a curb or miss a stair step or something and you jerk awake? Well I sometimes get those, except it's the middle of the night, and I feel jerked awake by a sudden fear that my blood sugar is really low. I jolt awake, certain that I'm disoriented, confused, and near seizures. Only to check the CGM or prick my finger and see that I was cruising at 124 and steady. And there are some nights like these, where the fear doesn't subside for the rest of the night.

Or sometimes the fear sneaks in other ways. Like when I groggily hear the CGM go off, warning me that I've dropped below 85, and I just decide to ignore it and hope I'll stay in the 80s. And then it goes off several more times, and by the time I finally pay attention, I'm LOW below 55 and I've wasted 45 minutes pretending it wasn't going to happen and now I'll waste another hour tending to it.

Or when I am camping, and I have to be separated from my food. All food, even my sugar tabs. And I set my low alert to 90 just to be extra safe and I send myself to bed with a BG of 290 because I'm terrified of having to wake up and run to the bear canister. I sleep with my CGM tucked into my beanie, to be extra sure of hearing the vibrations. I wake every hour and a half, to be sure that I'm not accidentally sleeping on the side of my body where my sensor clings to my leg, thus cutting off signal and potentially not alerting me to my brain's starvation.

I think part of it has to do with the fact that I'm sleeping alone now for the first time in my diabetes career. But part of it has always been there, because to be honest, I have no idea what it looks like to have a severe hypoglycemic attack and it's very possible that I could die quietly in the night even with someone sleeping right next to me.

So, yeah. Having diabetes, it is what it is. Anyone could die in the night, at any time and I get that. To borrow a phrase from Bob's Burgers, I'm no hero. I still put my bra on one boob at a time, like anybody else. But maybe I know a little something about fear that I didn't before. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Do you or a loved one suffer from diabeetus?

"Ms. Gerber! Ms. Gerber! Hiiiiiii! We miss you so much!!"

It's lovely to be at the beginning of the year, when my class from last year still feels so attached. They're not completely immersed in second grade yet, and are always looking for a hug when I walk by them. They'll move on, but for now it's nice to have the rockstar moments when they all go nuts when they see me.

Especially when they come out with gems like these:

"Ms. Gerber, how is your know, your, your, dibabeebles?"

So many fun ways to pronounce this condition!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

It's kind of blissful when...

Your pump is on your arm and you're taking a CGM break and you realize that you don't have to do any kind of shimmy or dance to put on your pants.

That's all in terms of words of wisdom this week folks! Just the little things you know 😉

Saturday, October 3, 2015

It's Weird and It's Wonderful

The nurse in the hospital told me that diabetes is like a part time job that you never get a day off from and never get paid for. She was right, and she forgot to mention that it forces you to become a workaholic, too. But while I am working hard, I also have a great appreciation for the work that I'm NOT doing.

Becoming aware and responsible for my body's processing of carbohydrates has made me in awe of everything else my body has been quietly, effortlessly chugging away at. Managing my blood sugar is exhausting and overwhelming and somehow my body is keeping me breathing?! It's translating my every intention into motion, every beam of light I encounter into visual information? Just spend some time thinking about it. It's a fun meditation in yoga class, to picture your muscles flexing and tightening and releasing, right underneath the skin. Imagine your lungs inflating. Try to break down the process next time you lift your leg to take a step.

When I was sick, unable to process carbohydrates on my own and unintentionally depriving it of insulin and access to proper energy, my body began breaking down its fat and muscle as energy sources. I lost 30 pounds. I shrank to a size 2, size 0, I shrank to my "Hollywood" weight, and I got compliments. I was scared but I was also happy. Because what woman doesn't want to be skinny?

But when you lose your fat, you lose your curves. You lose the part of you that looks like an actual adult woman. You can't sit down without feeling your bones hitting the chair. Your face sharpens and your features look too large. When you lose your muscle, you lose your abilities--to hike, to walk, to wander. When everything is effortful, you lose your enjoyment. Your body is "what you've always wanted" but there's nothing fun about it.

So imagine my joy when I actually got my body back. I got a second chance. I still have my struggles with my appearance, of course. But whenever I'm disappointed in the way clothes look, or feeling dismay over my bulky arms (everyone's got that one thing, right??), at least things are working. At least I'm alert enough to dismay. At least my body is functioning so well that I basically (well, with a lot of help from the media's messages to women) have to invent problems with myself.

The body-positive message is always, forget the outside, focus what's on the inside, right? Well of course personality is important. But don't forget about what's actually on your insides--muscle, and bones, and blood, and electrical impulses and whatnot. There's a lot going underneath your skin before you get down deep into your personality. There's a lot to appreciate in virtually every layer of you.