Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Darker Days of Fall

Autumn is usually my favorite season. It's the time of year when the chill that I so love comes back into the air, when everything feels crisp, and rich colors dress the trees. I am one of those people who's into pumpkin spice lattes and chai, fresh seasonal apples and of course, cider. Halloween is usually a treat for me because I adore dressing up in costumes. 

But you may notice I've been absent from blogging about how it's okay to eat candy at Halloween with diabetes. You haven't yet seen any silly posts wherein I dress up my insulin vials. Actually, you haven't seen any posts from me at all since mid-September.

I'm still in the midst of a job search, applying, hoping, going through the motions. I try to be excited while attempting to not get hopes up too high at the same time. It's a competitive market out there, especially in the city. I've seen so many of you getting new job and career opportunities, and I'm so happy for all of you, but trying to manage a twinge of jealousy at the same time. I've looked at my Facebook feed and more than once whined at the laptop screen, "When's it going to be my turn?"

I shouldn't whine. I know better than that.

I think it's easier to whine when things have just been difficult all year. A grandparent-in-law's passing, a broken humerus, surgery, losing my job. What's really been keeping me away from blogging are two things I haven't had the words to talk about.

That better A1C I bragged about a little while back? It may have temporarily been a fluke, either of office equipment or my body itself. At my most recent endo visit, it was right back up again. That sucks, but it's not the part that's been weighing on me. I saw a retina specialist because it was discovered that I have DME in the right eye. The left eye isn't perfect either, but it doesn't have the severity of problems that my right eye does. I've had an Avastin injection, and my first follow-up visit after that is this coming Monday. I want to write about my eye in more detail, but I figured I should come out about it first.

The next thing that is difficult for me actually just hit yesterday. A good friend of mine from the Philadelphia poetry community passed away yesterday morning. He helped us run the slam I work with--he was like family to all of us. He was one of the hardest-working people I knew, pursuing his artistic dreams on the page and on the stage. He did spoken word and theater. He acted, directed, wrote, and was a hip-hop artist. Earlier this year, he turned 30. He was diagnosed with cancer right about the same time. At the slam, we opted to not send a team to the National Poetry Slam this year so we could donate a portion of the proceeds of our shows directly to him. Even through his illness, he looked forward to getting back to coaching youth poetry teams and making next year's NPS squad. I am going to miss MJ in numerous ways, some I'm sure I haven't even realized yet. I do hope that soon, in the coming days, we can give this NOLA son and renaissance man the jazz funeral he deserves.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On the Market

I had a job interview this afternoon. I think it went well, but it's always difficult to tell with such things.

I once had a job interview which ended in me being asked when I could start, and they said they'd contact me about when I could come in to fill out my hire paperwork. They never called me. Not even an email.

One time, I submitted a resume to a company and was called back that same afternoon for an interview the following day. Then I had a second interview a couple of days later. Needless to say, I nailed it.

So this time? I don't know. Everyone was very pleasant, and as I said, I think it went smoothly. Fingers crossed.

As a sidenote, because diabetes touches everything in my life in small ways, charging my insulin pump (yes, I am rocking a t:slim if you'd forgotten) was as important as brushing my teeth and styling my hair while I was getting ready for the interview today. I mumbled at my pump while I reattached my tubing, "Don't you start beeping on me in the middle of a meeting, please."

It was a beep-free meeting indeed. Not even a buzz.

Being unemployed is...odd. On one hand, I am glad to be away from the stresses of my last job. I'd had that feeling that it was time to move on anyway. On the other hand, it's a somewhat stressful time of wondering what my next move is going to be. I feel like I can count on uncertainty, but luckily I feel like I can count on everyone I know for support. Thanks, friends.

Let's hope my next adventure starts soon.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Best in a Year

So last week, I learned I had the best A1C I've had in over a year. Certainly, your first thought is this:

And while my first thought about it probably should have been something like this:

I think I looked more like this:

Wait, wut?

With everything I've had going on, recovering from my broken arm & surgery, going through the stress of returning to work, going to physical therapy and everything else, I'm actually doing better? How did this happen? I didn't feel like I did a whole lot that was terribly different or special.

So yes, I am celebrating this small victory over here, but I know there is still much to improve and a lot to think about. With some good efforts, my numbers can hopefully be a lot better, and not just one marked improvement, but a lengthy period of improvement!

I imagine that this whole thing just serves to remind me that, in the end, ultimately, I HAVE THE POWER, not diabetes.
By the power of Greyskull! (I found this via an image search and I don't know who to attribute to...)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Not Quite in Arm's Reach, or What Happened When I Broke My Humerus

I come from a long line of klutzes.  Sometimes I trip, lose my balance, or flounder around while walking because my ankle decides it doesn't want to stay upright.  I think it was one of the latter two reasons that caused me to fall from the top step of my front stoop onto the sidewalk on March 28th.  This resulted in my first-ever major broken bone, my first-ever ambulance ride, my first-ever arm sling, and my second-ever surgery.

There are many places in which your arm can be broken.  In my case, it was my humerus--and before you say anything, it wasn't funny at all.  For those not in the know, the humerus is your upper arm bone.  Think of it as the bone that connects your elbow and your shoulder.  Now, imagine the pain and annoyance that comes with not being able to use your dominant arm for anything without considerable pain.  They say bone pain is some of the worst pain imaginable, and they are right.  Healing from surgery was less painful than trying to walk up the steps in my home with a sling on my arm.

Many things became difficult to do with only my left hand, including brushing my teeth and texting.  Video games could not be played on the Xbox.  I couldn't open any bottled drink.  I had to have help washing my hair and half my body in the shower, and for a while I couldn't get my arm wet, so I'd have to don a trashbag raincoat for my right arm first.  Still, no task seemed more daunting in terms of asking for help than diabetes management.  Things you can't really do with just one hand include:

-Drawing up insulin into a syringe
-Unwrapping an Inset infusion set, as well as cocking the insertion device
-Checking blood sugar
-Changing out everything on my pump
-Pouring orange juice to treat a low

So that's...nearly everything diabetes related you could do within a day?  At least my pump was always within reach!  With the T-Clip, I had no problems hooking my t:slim onto the strap of my sling.

The last time I had anyone else use a needle on me for diabetes management was probably the first time I tried a Dexcom Seven in Gary Scheiner's office, when the tech was so new he inserted my sensor for me.

"Well boys," I announced to Matt (the hubs) and Harper (the housemate), "I'm going to need a lot of help from you guys, and this includes a crash course in setting up my insulin pump and jabbing me with infusion sets."  Let me just say that in the nearly 16 years that Matt and I have been together, he's never given me a single injection.  We've known Harper for over two years now, and he is the kind of guy who can pass out at the sight of his own blood, so naturally I was concerned about asking him for help with needle things.

But what happened?  Everything worked out just fine, and I think I was more nervous about someone else sticking me with a needle than the guys were about learning everything.  Great partners and trusted friends are true treasures to have in an emergency.

I just wanted to take some time today to send a huge thank you to my two biggest caregivers/house helpers in the month and a half I was out of commission.  Blood sugars were monitored, infusion sets were placed, laundry & dishes were done, and meals were cooked!

I am back at work, driving again, and starting physical therapy next week to return my arm to its strength and full mobility.  So while I am not cleared to lift anything that's over five pounds, it's good to be back.  If you really want to see it, I'll show you my badass surgery scar sometime.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Where's Hannah?

I broke my right humerus (upper arm) last Friday. I have surgery to fix it tomorrow. I sure do miss typing with two hands. See you soon, readers!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Teaching an Old Dork New Tricks

My tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth again. It wasn't the same kind of stuck you get when you eat a peanut butter sandwich with no drink.  It was that dry-yet-syrupy cling that comes along with a high blood sugar.  My Dexcom sensor had failed in the morning (more on that later), so I pulled out my kit, tested, and clocked in at about 350 mg/dl.

I'd been crusing between 117 mg/dl and 160 mg/dl all morning, which were good-looking numbers for me compared to some I'd seen lately.  The culprit for the high, I believe, was putting sugar in my coffee and forgetting that fact.  (Cringe all you want, I freely admit I choose my vices and consume artificial sweeteners.)

I knew I needed to correct this bad boy before I felt any more gross, so I pulled out a syringe and drew up my correction by hand.  I was wearing a thick sweater and couldn't inject through my clothes.  I know my boss likes to watch the security camera from time to time, and I was not in the mood for her to be asking what I was doing with my shirt, and if I was feeling okay.  I was, however, wearing a thin skirt.

I looked down at my thigh.  Hmm.  How bad could it be?  My abdomen has always been, and genetically will forever be, plump and squishy to some degree.  It just makes me more fun to cuddle.  My thighs are mostly muscle.  Aren't you supposed to be able to pinch up an inch of fat where you inject?  Do I even have that much on my legs?  Maybe I'll just do this.  I mean, I've had diabetes for how long now? HALP OH GAWD I THINK I'M ACTUALLY GOING TO TRY THIS.

So that's when I did my first-ever thigh injection.

Note--I am not complaining about my body or trying to body-shame anybody else here.  It's merely fact: I come from a line of women with fat stored around the midsection.  I have slender arms, and legs, and I'm busty, which gives me more opportunities to hide my insulin pump.  I see this as a win.  I've never used my arms either, and for the record, my mom is too weirded out to do insulin shots on arms or legs too, so I know for a fact I'm not alone.  What a digression....).

It stung like hell for a few seconds, and then it was over.  I don't think it worked any better or faster than my usual injection/infusion sites, but it did work.  I'm not sure it's something I'd want to repeat terribly often, but after 23 and a half years with Type 1, I guess it shows you can learn and try new things all the time.  People talk about using their thighs, their arms, their bellies, their "side-butt" for sites.  It's purely a personal choice thing, with the exception of problems with absorption or other issues.

Where do you like to inject?  Where do you put your infusion sets and glucose sensors?  Do you think I should keep trying new things, or just stick with what's working?