Thursday, December 1, 2011

Diabetes


I watched this video this morning at Aussie Therese's
It made me think of my own type 1 diabetes and how it's changed my life.
I've had it for so long that I can't imagine life without it. It has become 2nd nature to me.
It's funny, because probably most people would think of diabetes as a cross in life. I don't really
think of it as that, because of that 2nd nature thing. What I mean by that is that every time I take a shot, 5 times/day, or monitor my blood sugars, 5 times/day--8-10 when pregnant, or count carbs before I eat, I'm not thinking "Oh, I hate this" or "Why do I have to do this?" It's automatic. I don't even think about it. It's offered up in my daily offering and forgotten.

I "got" diabetes when I was 10 years old. My mom also has type 1 and she "got" it when she was 24. She had 2 kids at time, my brother and I, we were like 2 and 3 years old. She ended up going into a coma and was in the hospital for a month, us kids were not allowed to see her...wow, how things have changed, huh?

I did not go into a coma. Usually diabetes is triggered by some kind of flu, and the flu had gone around our neighborhood, (we were living in Santa Rosa, CA at the time) and after a week, everyone drug themselves back to work or school and got better. I didn't get better. My mom started thinking diabetes. Back then, they only tested sugars with urine. (SO INACCURATE) She tested me after nibbling on barely anything and my urine was "moderate" and then tested my dad, who had feasted on fried chicken and chocolate on the bottom cake and he was "normal".

I remember her calling the doctor and they said she could bring me in that night or the next morning. She asked if I could go into a coma, they said, "well, yes..." So she brought me in right away. I still remember that as such a funny thing about the whole situation. Anyway, they brought me in and I was in the hospital for a week.

Oh, things have changed over the years. (almost 32 years by the way) Back then, I took one shot in the morning, then after a few years, that changed to 2 shots, one at bedtime and one in the morning. Then a few years later, it changed to testing our blood instead of urine, by pricking fingers. This is still the case. It just amazes me how much more accurate it is now. I think it is most common to take a shot with each meal and at bedtime, which is what I do.

As a kid, don't get me wrong, I went through some things with it. It was hard. I hated it. The first year I was perfect on the diet, never even nibbling off the diet. Afraid if I did, I'd die. The next year, towards the end, (we had moved back to MN by now) we had a 6th grade end of the school year party, and there were chips and lots of snacks. I remember being tempted by them and gave in and ate some chips! I used to walk home from school...probably like 10 or 12 blocks and I cried all the way home, thinking I was going to die. You know what? I didn't die! I remember testing the waters I guess, from that moment on. Always taking my shots but not really watching it like I should have. Until I was an adult.
Now, it is the high blood sugars that are damaging to our internal organs. It is the high blood sugars that cause all the terrible things Diabetes can cause. That is why it is so important to watch those blood sugars and count those carbs!!

Once finger pricking started and taking insulin with each meal, I hated the attention I got from everyone. I have to admit, it's still something I try my best to avoid. Once I'd take it out, who ever was by me or around me would come over and ask (stupid) questions. I still, to this day, do not like having to educate everyone who asks, only for them to not really understand anyway. Type 1 diabetes, for some reason causes some kind of fog on the brain for people and they just don't get it. I find this so funny when I am in the hospital and the nurses don't get it. They always start out treating me as a gestational diabetic, then they always end up letting me take care of it myself and just tell them the numbers and amounts of insulin I took. It's like type 1 is so rare or something.

It's not that rare. It's not that confusing. My pancreas does not work at all. It does not produce any insulin, ever. SO, I take insulin to compensate for the food I eat. SO the food has to match the insulin. Over the years this has changed also. We used to count everything, fruit, vegetable, fat, meat, bread, milk. Now, it is carbohydrate counting, it's the carbs that make the blood sugars rise. Of course the others foods must be eaten too and in moderation, but it's a direct insulin/carbohydrate ratio, in order to monitor blood sugars.

Type 1 Diabetes is not caused because of poor diet, or obesity and used to be called Juvenile Diabetes, because it is usually diagnosed before the age of 30. It is controlled by diet, exercise and insulin management. I was always a skinny kid. I remember in 7th and 8th grade being a size 1 and having a hard time finding clothes. Our little Ben Franklin store had size one clothes!!

Type 2 Diabetes is caused by that poor diet, or obesity. In a type 2 Diabetic, their pancreas still works some of the time, just not properly. It is sometimes reversed by diet only, which is the hard way, but most often is controlled by pills or even insulin and diet.

The funny thing about people who do not have diabetes is they always say, "Oh, I could never take all those shots." or "How do you take all those shots?" as they shudder at the thought of it. I always tell them, it's not really the shots that are a big deal, it's the diet, the watching everything. But, you know, it's not anymore. It's really 2nd nature now. It can be a balancing act. It does make some things harder. I've found it really tricky losing weight, exercising and adjusting the insulin to do so.

I find myself embarrassed by the disease now, that I'm older and overweight. With each baby I've kept the last 10-15 lbs (I'm having my 6th baby, I'll let you do the math) I think people think I overeat or don't watch it, when in actuality, I am probably eating much healthier than they are. This is all because of the big growth in Type 2 Diabetics across the country, and the unhealthy risks associated with this.

Insulin is known to make a person gain weight. My insulin levels when not pregnant are around 6 units before each meal and around 24 of the bedtime insulin. Now, by the end of the pregnancy, those levels are unbelievably high, breakfast I'm currently at 42 units, lunch 22 and supper 18, my bedtime is split between night and morning and the total is currently at 86 units!! The insulin is daily rising and monitored. I'm eating the same amounts, it's the pregnancy hormones. In a normal pregnancy, your pancreas automatically does this same thing, it produces the right amount of insulin. In my body, I put it in there. The day I have the baby, those levels go completely back to normal.

I have very tight control of my diabetes. With each baby, especially by the 6th baby, I just know I am going to gain 50-60 lbs automatically. Which is humbling to say the least. Oh, I don't want to get off on diet, losing weight and exercise yet, there will be plenty of time for that once I recover from the
C-section!!

Diabetes is not controlling me. I am controlling the diabetes. I can do anything anyone can do. I can exercise, I can do sports (OK, I'm not good at sports, never have been, but I can do them!) People in my past have said things about my diabetes and not being able to have children, well, that was the wrong thing to say to me!! I can do anything.

This does not hold me back.


**We do not contribute to any research in order to find a cure for Diabetes, because their research involves unborn babies. I can live with this. I would never take a cure, so I could add a few years onto my life, by means of a baby losing their life. Aussie Therese also has information on her blog regarding this serious subject. (just fyi: Cancer and MS research companies, also have no qualms using aborted babies to do their research. We really have to do our own research before contributing to any cause)

18 comments:

  1. Wow! I truly learned some things today. I admire you and how well you manage diabetes. I have a few friends who have it and one acts like it is a death sentence for her. She's not much into managing her diet. I also did not know these companies use aborted babies. THAT really is upsetting. I'm going to be checking into some things with that.

    You are so inspiring, Jamie Jo! Thank you for taking the time to educate us today-

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  2. Great post Jamie.

    My father was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 40 (after a looong bout with flu that never went away like you mentioned). Then, when my brother was 30 he was diagnosed. They are both stick think, like you were. I worry about when I will be diagnosed all the time.

    I have watched them struggle with balancing insulin for many years, and my heart goes out to you. Not just for dealing with the disease, but like you said, the embarrassment that goes with it. There is a lot of judgement, especially in a day and age where being "fit" is often viewed as a moral issue. Don't get me started on that one!

    Praying for you as you navigate life with diabetes. Please let us know if you ever come across a foundation that does not support immoral testing. Grr.

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  3. I had no idea! I knew that you were Typ 1 diabetic, but I was ignorant to the amount of effort it takes to manage it. You are amazing!!!

    On a side note, I have something for you. I went to the presentation about St. Gianna Molla at our parish last night. The director of the St. Gianna society came and gave a talk and had St. Gianna's relics with him. They were not encased in glass (as per usual). We held one of Saint Gianna's gloves in our hand and received prayers cards that were touched to her gloves as well. Anyway, long story short... I have a prayer card for you. Prayer cards that have been touched to her relics have caused miracles to happen (the director's own son was cured and didn't need a bone marrow transplant after praying with her card). I thought of you and your baby and can't wait to send you a prayer card and brochure. God Bless.

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  4. You're an inspiration, Jamie. Thank you for sharing all of this. My grandfather has Type 2 diabetes and I have had gestational diabetes one of my pregnancies and possibly another one that they didn't catch it on. But I didn't know a lot about type 1.

    God bless you.

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  5. Shelly--Good! Sorry about your friend, that's too bad...it's so important, once she gets her attitude right, and starts managing things better, she will feel so much better too. Those companies that contribute/use aborted babies, have the info right on their websites...usually under "research" and it says something to the effect that they will use any and all means to find a cure and have no qualms about it....But the baby is called a "fetus" or "tissue".

    Second Chances-- Both your father and brother, wow, that's late to get type 1...it's funny too, they say that Type 1 is not as hereditary as type 2, yet, I hear so many stories of multiple siblings or mother daughter, like me, or in your case father son...

    Really, the only time I struggle with it, is when I'm trying to lose weight, it does add an additional challenge...

    Tina Marie-- You brought tears to my eyes and gave me goosebumps!! What a special gift, and how blessed you were to be able to go. Thank you so very much!

    Kelly--Type 2 diabetes is very similar to Gestational. I always feel sorry for women with Gestational Diabetes, because it's thrown at you, usually toward the end and it's hard to understand, then as soon as you have that baby, it's gone!

    I can tell you something that might help next time, preventing GD--no fruit or juice in the morning and add a protein for breakfast. That's it. Also, add a snack before bedtime, like yogurt or cereal w/milk.

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  6. Your dr. (halstrom) he had the flu and soon ended up with Type 1 diabetes. Must be a link there.

    I have always wondered...hope this isnt a stupid question.....if the shots hurt....or do you get use to it?

    I would think the answer would be...it hurts darn bad!

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  7. Very interesting, Jamie. People who don't live with something every day just don't get it (even if they are sincere about trying to). We get that with the boys' celiac disease all the time.

    My dad and grandfather have type 2. However, they are an odd case as they are thin (so not the typical reason why you get type 2). Type 1 is genetic. It is an autoimmune disease so you're more open to getting other autoimmune diseases (like celiac, thyroid problems, etc.). Of course you can be the first person in the family to get this "genetic" disease like my boys were.

    I didn't know that about insulin and weight gain. That sucks. Getting older certainly doesn't help with the losing the weight either, does it! I did learn something about type 1 from my kids' ped. He said that it used to be thought that it happens very suddenly (yes, the "final" symptoms are of a sudden nature), but that it can take years for the body to "kill off" the pancreas so that it can't produce insulin. And the only reason I learned that is my oldest had some weird stuff go on back in Feb when he came down with the flu. Ever since then, we've had these episodes reoccur so he told me about type 1 and what to keep an eye out for. So that's a lovely waiting game...

    Glad you're in control of it and it's "no big deal" for you though!

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  8. I learned some stuff too as Linda has type 2 and doesn't manage her's very well and the worst part for her is not eating at the right times or skipping meals. A very good post Jamie.
    Odie

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  9. Good post! Wow, I learned a lot today! I had no idea about the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

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  10. My brother-in-law got it when he was in 2nd grade, and got the pump a few years ago (around age 25). It seems to help him a lot. Can you do that? When he was younger, I used to ask him about it all the time - probably super annoying, but I just find medical things so interseting. You are carrying a cross even if you don't see it that way, and you are offering it up ever so graciously. What a role model!

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  11. I enjoyed reading your story Jamie. You make me laugh and it's a good thing that you can laugh about it!

    My sister-in-law has Type 1 and was diagnosed around the same age as your mom. Just like you said -- the doctor's said a virus attacked the pancreas. She doesn't watch her diet as she should and I worry about her. She cheats, a lot, and I worry about her long-term health. One thing she does have going for her is a pump -- so no sticks. The next time you see your doctor ask about one -- maybe your insurance would cover it. She places it in a new spot in the skin (I think once week) and then the machine checks her sugar and gives her the right dose. It's a tiny little pack she keeps around her waist. It's been wonderful for her.

    Praying you have an easy couple weeks, until the baby comes. Go put your feet up and let the kids read to you!

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  12. Christine--Yes! That is a dumb question. What do you think, I'm poking a needle in my skin? Try it. (haha!! you know i'm kidding you right?) But...well...think about it.
    (you get used to it because you have to or you'll die!)

    Dr Halstrom? Really? wow! Interesting!

    Nicole--I think it is a big deal for the parents of kid with these types of diseases. The person with the disease, has to get used to it, like the video says, we adapt quickly because we have to.

    Over the years, I've seen them go back and forth on whether type 1 diabetes is hereditary or not, which I find funny. They have always said though, that type 2 is.
    Which is also funny, because that is the unhealthy diet one...

    Yes, the symptoms do take a long time, I should have written about that....I had symptoms for at least a year. Excessive thirst, therefore frequent urination, weight loss, I had this eye matter that I would wake up each morning and my eyes would be dried shut.

    Odie---once a person is in control, it's hard to go back to uncontrolled, because it's so unpredictable when not controlled. I like how tight it is controlled during pregnancy. It's harder to go back to only testing 4 times/day afterward....but obviously cheaper!!

    I should have gotten into that, we pay $150/month on insulin and supplies! (always have)

    Becky--good, that is what I hoped!

    Colleen--Yes, I could get a pump, but don't want one. Sometimes you feel like a guinea pig, with all the things the doctors want you to do. I will do that if I can't control it on my own. The pump just gives you the insulin kind of like a drip, throughout the day as you need it, but you still control when it gives you what and when. I don't want to wear anything. I guess it can get rid of the peaks of having low blood sugars and also therefore the highs too....if that's a problem.

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  13. Barbara--I kind of answered you in Colleen's answer. My doctor does ask about the pump about once a year. I do think I will eventually. I just have kiddos crawling all over me all the time and don't want it attached to me. I know a person would get used to it...but,but, but... I'd have to always wear things with a waist too...I'm stubborn, and if something is working, why change it?

    Yes, it would be less shots and pricks, but I've gotten used to it and it's what I know, that 2nd nature thing...change is hard.

    If you sister is on a pump, then, that will help her with that cheating, I'm sure.

    The problem with cheating is you need to take more insulin...I could eat a whole cake, if I compensate with a whole lot of insulin. But that would be stupid, right? If she eats something (cheats) it's fine if she compensates with insulin, but the problem with cheating too much would of course be unhealthy choices and weight gain.

    If she's not compensating with insulin, (after cheating) then, well, that is very bad, because of the high blood sugars and possible spilling of sugars in her urine. Bad, very bad for the kidneys. It's those high blood sugars for long periods of time that hurt our organs, eyes, etc...

    You know, I hate that term "cheating" because it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle, a way of eating, and making good choices. Maybe instead of "cheating" it should be called "bad choices"?

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  14. Gotcha. She makes bad choices. Like bread and pasta for dinner and then dessert. I have a chronic illness that causes me to think a lot about my food choices, too. But if I eat the wrong food it results in severe bladder pain. Maybe it would be easier for my sister-in-law to "make good food choices" if the result was pain. I think most of us try hard to avoid it. :-/

    About the pump -- I understand not wanting to have something "on" you. My sister-in-law is a special ed teacher in a Catholic school and so she doesn't really have little ones "on" her. I think there is a belt or something for when she wears a dress. It gives her insulin periodically, you can hear it beep when it does, but she can also adjust it for when she "makes bad food choices." I guess she is pre-empting a high sugar level.

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  15. Great article and great attitude! Thank you for sharing:(

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  16. My nephew has type I. They think his was triggered after having chicken pox. It was 7 years ago...He handles it so beautifully. He is on the pump now which was life changing for him. What a beautiful post, Jamie! Know I am praying for you, even though I have been quiet in this part of the world.

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  17. Jamie, Every time I think wow this woman is an inspiration! You manage to raise the bar even higher. You are awesome!!!So glad I found you online and have gotten to "know" you :)

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  18. Hi Jamie!

    Miss you. I have a sick computer and so I'm checking in from hubby's laptop. ugh!

    Anyway, you did such a great job on this post! Thanks for educating folks about Type 1...even if it doesn't sink in for the general public. Sounds like your blog readers "get it"!

    I understand a lot of what you shared. A college boyfriend developed Type 1 and was diagnosed 3-weeks before our graduation. He was 21 and began losing weight w/o trying.

    I have had Gestational 3 times; what.a.pain! But, as you said, it's a lifestyle. And frankly, if I would follow the recommended "diet" provided by the nutritionist at the Daibetes Mgmt. Center that I always get sent to...I would be so much healthier!!! Not that being thinner would prevent Gestational...I know several "skinny" women that have ended up with it as well...but true to fact...we were all over age 35 which is a "risk" factor. Seems the pancrease just gets worn out easier the older we are. Combine that with high pregnancy hormone levels and that problematic placenta (for gestationals) and you've got a recipe for GD!!!

    Unfortunately, I went for a wellness check-up last week and my fasting was over 100! Yikes. Not by a lot (101), but still...I wasn't allowed to have a fasting over 90 when pregnant...and anything over 70 was considered "creeping" up there!

    When I get a chance, I'll be back to puruse your blog...I'm sure I've missed a ton!

    Blessings,
    Val

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