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Friday, August 30, 2013

Getting it (together)

About 5.5ish years into life with T1D, I believe I finally am starting to "get it". I mean, I "got it" before, but I feel like recently I've gotten better at seeing the big picture. Having finally read (devoured in 48 hours) even just 1 book about diabetes (Think Like a Pancreas), I was amazed to find information that I did not know about. Information that verified to me, that no, I was not an "abnormal T1D", whose blood sugar homeostasis requirements fluctuate wildly during the course of the month, and that I 'm not imagining things when I eat a protein-filled no-carb breakfast that makes me spike a few hours later (thanks Liver!), and that I can weigh many foods and multiply by this thing called a "carb factor". Furthermore, gaining information within the last 8 months of  being involved with the DOC has been extremely eye-opening, not only in the sense of emotional support, but also in learning about the treatment plans of others... Information is powerful...

At first, when I started treating, I was nonchalant, thinking that treatment was easy. When I realized what a fine line of fine it is, then I was scared. Now I must say I'm neither. Recently, my fear of lows (which don't often occur because I'm often running higher) have been replaced by some quiet confidence of treating myself the best way possible and in order to feel well, aiming closer to normal than ever. Actually, aiming for the higher side of normal.

I do have to mention that it wasn't just the gathering of information that restored my faith in myself to be able aim lower. I was so scared of the lows. So scared. Then one day a few months back, I had the opportunity to take LSD (has been shown to be effective for PTSD, cluster headaches, and recent studies confirm psychedelics do not cause mental heath problems, and may in fact be beneficial to mental health; Having said this, I am not advising anyone do anything I describe here - psychedelic drugs are very powerful and must be used with respect and common-sense caution. And having said that, the LD50 is extremely low, just look at the informative chart below (all credit to Wiki).

Such opportunities do not come by often, and I was prepared to use the experience to think about anything that may be on my mind (if you've done any psychedelic, you know it's not like you have much of a choice as to what goes through your mind)... I was running high BGs for "tripping safely" reasons (150-200 all night). And then I started to feel like total shit. The acid seemed to exacerbate my ability to perceive high symptoms, causing me to drink and pee even more excessively and developing a complete disgust for the state of my body. Closed-eyed visuals showed only my blood vessels, clogged by excessive sugar, slowly, slowly getting more clogged. (At the same time, I was thanking God for the existence of insulin, although I didn't dare take any at that particular time due to my state of mind and practically non-existent concept of time.) WHY IS IT LIKE THIS - I wondered - DAY AFTER DAY -higher that I should be - letting myself drown in a sticky puddle of sugary blood - that was precisely how I felt deep inside, like I was crying for help and unable to get out.. AND ALL THE WHILE, THE TOOLS ARE RIGHT THERE - ALL I HAVE TO DO IS TRUST MYSELF THAT I'M CAPABLE OF USING THEM WELL AND NOT FUCKING UP TOO MUCH... What am I scared of?

Then it occurred to me that I should put myself in a low state of mind while being high. Knowing that my BG was high, and without the fear of passing out from a low, I allowed myself to explore my fears of being low. WHAT AM I SO AFRAID OF? Is it the discomfort (hell) of feeling the symptoms? Although those are frightening, I allowed myself to imagine vividly what it's like to be low. I counted each and every symptom, imagining it, and proceeded to consider the worst-case scenarios, of passing out, dying, etc. In the end, I felt that I had confronted my fears head-on, in a way that I was never able to do before. It was a powerful experience and I am grateful to have had the opportunity, primarily because I have seen the changes in my self-care already. Not over-treating lows, solidly and consistently correcting mid-100s, adjusting basals and I:C ratios for different times of the day and month, and logging more days than not.

Dare I say that for the first time in a long time, I am proud of my self-care when it comes to Diabetes.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

This week in diabetes and graduate school:

1. Stubbornly High BGs this week due to 1. stress; 2. high progesterone. By stubbornly high, I mean consistent! 200s while taking unit after unit (every hour) of Novolog.

2. To elaborate on the stress part, I have post-doctoral grants to apply for. They are due this Fall and will pretty much may largely determine whether I continue as a graduate student making a measly 22K per year for 1 final year OR if I can actually get that (oh-so-elusive) Ph.D. and make 50K + (ish?) next year - I'll take whatever I can get though, regardless... Stress, emotions, me being me, lead to high BGs.

2. (A) On top of that I had to take a pregnancy test last week. (It was negative). But I was stressed for a bit there on top of all the grants. [because I am not ready for a child at this moment]. All's well that ends well and I am waiting for insulin resistance to pass and feel better about BGs at least for the next couple of weeks. Next month, I think I will try to change basal rates - I don't pump, so I guess that would be basal doses - during different weeks of the month. Got to love being a woman. Well, I do, but Diabetes doesn't always hardly ever play nice with hormones (in general, like seriously).

2. (B) School starts again soon (like I don't want to think about how soon). Although I don't have to take classes, I do have to teach, on top of doing my research and aforementioned grants... Stress aside, need to incorporate exercise and relaxation, Diabetes, I am coming for you! I'll do the best I can with what I've got.

* On a very bright note, I will be joining the TuDiabetes community soon! I can't even tell you how often I am on those forums, reading it up! Also, I am excited for the emotional support I always gain what I  meet others living with T1D (online or IRL). I hope to drop by DSMA tonight.

With Love, MM