Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It's My Blog and I'll Cry if I Want To

Forgive me if this post comes out whiny or cranky. Frankly, I'm working on less than four hours of sleep, none of that more than 30 minutes in a row. And I feel awful to boot.

I'm a bit of a control freak, and I like to be in control. I am certainly learning I can't control everything, but there are a few things I still would like to know I'm in charge of. One of them is my diabetes.

Since diabetes is really just a lack of insulin for me (darn pancreas that decided it had had enough), control should be as simple as taking synthetic insulin through shots. I just manually have to control my blood sugars as opposed to letting it go on autopilot. I use this thing to do it:

It's called an insulin pump and I wear it all the time. It's like my mini-pancreas. It's about the size of a small cell phone and it has a tiny tube that runs from the pump into a catheter I put in my abdomen. Sounds gross, but really, no one even notices it, and most of the time, I can't feel it. But all day it delivers a small stream of insulin in me to keep me alive, and when I eat, I just hit the buttons and it delivers more insulin. No shots. Sounds easy, right?

Except - and this is a huge EXCEPT - the science on this "let's mimic the pancreas" is very flimsy. And my body is very unpredictable. You'd think every time I ate, say, a ham sandwich made from exactly the same materials, I could take the same amount of insulin to cover it. You'd think if I exercised exactly the same amount every day, I could set my insulin for the same amount to cover how my blood sugar would rise or fall. You'd think, with a small amount of math, I could keep my blood sugars in the normal range easily. After all, that's what math and science is about, right? Having a right answer?

BUT: I can't. Because every freakin' day my body decides to do something different. I am like a moving target for that insulin.

And yesterday, I couldn't get it right. After coming home from the gym, my blood sugar was surprisingly good ( it usually goes up, but sometimes it goes down, so I wait and see and then adjust). I thought, Ah! Today's going to be one of those good days!
And then I ate lunch. A small lunch. Only 15 carbs (the carbohydrates are what you have to count to determine how much insulin to use). But my blood sugar went haywire. Into the 200s. Which is bad. I pushed more insulin. And it went to the 300s. I start freaking out. I change every variable I can (insulin, catheter, tubing) and push more insulin. Into the 400s.

I change it all again and then give myself a real shot, with a real needle. It slowly goes down to the high 200s. I haven't eaten anything else, and am guzzling water like I just crossed the Sahara ( highs make me thirsty). I think it's still going down, so I eat dinner. About half of what I'd normally eat. It shoots back into the high 300s.

This is not me. I am never that high. And I have never not been able to get my blood sugars down when I needed to. It's almost as though the insulin itself is causing my blood sugar to go up.

I change it all out again. This is getting expensive now. By eleven at night it's in the high 200s again. It's going down, I think. I'll read a little and then test again, just to make sure.

At midnight it's in the low 300s. At one it's in the 400s. I have no freakin' idea what is going on. Even if I hadn't taken any insulin at all for my food it shouldn't be this high. Another hour like this and I'll be in the hospital.

I change everything out again, and give myself another shot. I've given myself enough insulin at this point to have killed me three times over. I'm going to bed. I give up. I figure my blood sugar is either going to be 800 by morning, or 20, and either way I'll be lucky to wake up.

BUT: I also wear a sensor. It's the size of a quarter and attached directly to my skin, and it sends my blood sugar number to my pump every five minutes. It looks like this:

And if my blood sugar goes too high or too low, it makes this obnoxious beeping noise that won't go away until you hit a series of buttons. I've been hitting these buttons all day. I don't know why I thought I was going to get any sleep. All night they beeped, and in my hazy, fatigued state I'd glance at the glowing screen and see my blood sugar numbers continuing to creep up. And up. And up. I was scared to sleep too much, but too tired to know what else to do.

This morning I started all over. New bottle of insulin. New tubing. Another shot. I got it down to 104 after 24 hours of this. Now, two hours after it came down and hit normal, without eating anything, it's creeping back up.

I am beyond frustrated. And I feel tired and groggy and hungry. And confused. And worried. Because I'm pushing enough insulin now that whenever whatever is causing my blood sugar to go so high goes away, I'm going to be in a world of trouble.

I hate it because it is now controlling my day. I didn't go to the gym. I didn't have my coffee. I'm pricking my fingers every fifteen minutes to make sure I don't need to keep 9-1-1 on speed dial.

It's gone up 10 points just in the time it took to write this.

God, I don't complain about much in my life. I'm mostly very healthy, and I'm exceptionally thankful for that. And I'm happy to deal with living with diabetes if this is what you think will make me stronger. But really... I'd be so grateful if we could just go back the way things were three days ago. When I didn't feel like I had to review emergency information with my kids. Thanks.


  1. I hope you get it under control. My husband's best friend has one of those pumps and he's always adjusting it. My niece has juvenile diabetes and has to give herself shots. Both my dad and mother in law have it as well so I'm well aware of the dangers. Call the doctor if it gets out of control.

  2. Oh My GOSH Heidi!

    This isn't normal AT ALL! I'm REALLY WORRIED about you, enough to use lots of caps!

    Have you called your doctor? At the end of today can you please please write me and let me know you're okay?

    Now I'm really worried. Crap.

    Sending lots of "go down" vibes to you from over here....xoxox

  3. are you ok now? im so sorry - my friend has diabetes but she does prick finger and shots. hope it all works out! let us know.

  4. Thanks everyone! I seem to have managed the beast! One more day down... another adventure another day!

    Patti - Man, girl, you are in the diabetes know! My sister also has type 1, but we are the only people I "know." It keeps me on my toes, for sure. I think overall I'm healthier because of it, but every now and then it hits me upside the head.

    Jen - I sent you an email. You're full of awesomeness. :)

    Shelli - I still do finger pricks, but I try to use the pump instead of shots. I got reacquainted with my syringe this time around, but I've put it away for now. Hopefully, tomorrow everything will have evened out. We all have our thing, eh?

  5. My best friend's 14 year old daughter can't even get a pump because she's all over the place - always has had fluctuating levels.

    Diabetes is so cruel.

    Prayers to you.

  6. God bless it Heidi. I missed this yesterday. Good Lord! Oh friend, you made me cry.

    Can't you call someone like an advice nurse to help you through an agony like what you're describing? I never knew diabetes could be so cruel. Glenn and Wendy have Kaiser as their insurance and there is an advice nurse that can be called 24/7. My guess is you didn't want to go into emergency, but Heidi, maybe you should have.

    I'm like Jen--just Very, Very Worried about our lovely Heidi.

  7. I'd complain if I had to go through all of that. Heck, I complain if I get the sniffles for a few days. You are stronger than me.


  8. Marsh - my husband said the same thing. "WHY DIDN"T YOU CALL THE DOCTOR!!"

    Well, because I was trying to figure out if it was a problem with the pump or with me. I wanted to make sure I was calling the right person (doctor or pump manufacturer), and frankly, I don't find doctors all that helpful. If it had gone on for another day I would have, but as it was... I was trying to figure it out on my own. Sigh. I suppose I'm stubborn that way.

    Paul - I don't like sniffles either! :) And I probably did my share of complaining!