In 10 years….

Insulin pumps are quickly becoming more advanced and I’m sure some of you have heard the rumors about a new one coming out that could potentially detect lows. The idea behind it is that the pump would deliver insulin like normal, you would bolus after food, but an added feature would be its ability to stop insulin delivery without you when it predicted a low blood sugar coming. That’s great. It’s a step closer to having a functioning pancreas again.

Well, there’s another very similar idea now. It’s being tested right now with a very small control group and probably won’t be available within the next ten years. With that said, it’s still an awesome idea and I hope it all works out well with the control group.

Here’s the article: Independence from diabetes

This new device would be inserted under the skin of your lower back. The way I understand it, the device is made like a thin sheet. It shows it in the video. It seems similar to the birth control method where they implant that small stick-like object under the skin in a woman’s arm and it’s replaced when the time comes. I don’t know much about those, but I have seen people with them and they don’t talk like it’s a big deal to have one. Maybe if any of you have one that could give you some perspective. I don’t. xD

It’s supposed to be able to block autoimmune cells. I’m not sure if this would ever cause any problems, but that’s what the control group and tests are for. I’m sure they could find a way to control it since the device is also supposed to allow insulin producing cells to enter the body. They obviously think it’s safe enough to test on people now, so that’s a good sign.

I didn’t see anything that told about the possible price, but the article does say that the span it could be used for is anywhere from 2-10 years. That’s a pretty big gap. I’m sure it will be narrowed down eventually. Up to 10 years is great and if it does work I’m sure improvements could be made. Maybe one day it will be capable of 20 years.

As of right now I’m not sure how well it works, but the fact that it has made it to a human trial says something.

I’m honestly surprised that I hadn’t heard more about this before.

Is this something that you might try?

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“I’m A Happy”

So, I’ve been pretty busy over the weekend. I had a huge accounting project where I had to do a financial analysis of two companies, include 20 ratios, and write a 2 page paper. Long story short, it ended up being 10 pages long. The blog hasn’t gotten very much attention, and Professor S is the one to blame.

Anyway, I just received a text message that made my Monday, and I literally only have one person to share it with right now. (My boss). He cares, but he won’t appreciate the news as much as some of you.

I had to buy insulin today. Had to. I have 58 units left as we speak and I’m going after work to pick it up.

Normally, a vial costs me $237. Yikes, right? Yeah…. That lasts about a month and I haven’t bought any lancets, test strips, or any of my pump supplies (which I think are also ridiculous) for several months now. I just started my insurance back in January, I think? I pay close to $200 a month for it and it was the cheapest I could get. Saturday I  received my bill for going to the doctor, too. Everything else runs around $200, so you can imagine what that bill was like. Anyway, I’ve been running on supplies that I’ve had stored, but you can see where the amounts were starting to pile up regardless.

My mom just texted me at work and said that the pharmacy told her that my insulin would cost FIVE DOLLARS. I shouldn’t be at my deductible yet. I called and checked. Sure enough….

I’m not sure what happened, but I am one happy person right now. So happy in fact, that when I texted my boyfriend about it I accidentally typed, “I’m a happy.”

I meant “I’m so happy.”

I followed that text up with, ” *I’m so happy. I guess I’m a happy too though.”

So, I’m a happy. It may have been an accident, but I think it’s probably a pretty good description.

I got a good test grade back today, I got caught up on almost all of my homework today, I’ll be off work soon, my sister hooked my Super Nintendo up for me while I was gone, my insulin somehow miraculously came out to $5, my taxes are done, Easter break is coming up, and it’s beautiful outside.

Monday did not win this time. Not even a little bit.

This is just a reminder to myself and everyone else that every now and then everything goes perfectly. Maybe not often, but this right here is proof that it is indeed possible. I’m going to be off in 15 minutes. I’m going to dance into that building and fork up $5 for my life for the next month. My life is worth more than $5, but I’m glad the pharmacy doesn’t think so today.

I hope everyone else is having a splendid Monday.

Get Inked For Your Health

Yet another idea that I love. I feel like I have been constantly posting about things really similar to this idea. Maybe I should just wait a month and post them all at once. I’ve already started this way, so I suppose I’ll leave it at that.

Anyway… Here’s the article this time. Get inked

I guess I’m a kid at heart, because this really appeals to me. I think it’s pretty cool. Being able to draw a picture instead of pricking your finger sounds way more fun.

Nano-engineer are taking cheap pens and trying to do something amazing. Biochemical ink is being used to measure certain chemicals. This could be used to test blood glucose levels. It would be cheaper than what we use now, but currently they’re only good for one use. Maybe they’ll be able to change that.

I’ve always worried about having children. The whole, “What if they turn out like me?” question is one that will haunt you. I’ve had dreams where anytime I pick up my new baby it screams and cries because all I ever do is hurt it by pricking it or giving it insulin. It’s a heartbreaking dream that I have fairly often. The baby loves everyone else but cries at the sight of me. I know I may not have kids with diabetes, but the fear is always there. This shouldn’t be something anyone has to worry about.

Something like this, and several other new ideas, would help with part of the problem. It would be a great thing for everyone; not just little kids. I would much rather draw on myself or someone else when compared with what we do now.

Like I said in another post, it’s not very often that diabetic supplies are “cool”.

Babies, toddlers, children, pre-teens, teenagers, adults, seniors…. It would be universal for all groups. It seems like most age groups do it slightly differently. Some choose different spots because it’s easier for them. Supplies may change because your preferences change as you age. This could be something that you could start out with and keep using for the rest of your life.

Lady, your coffee…

I was in my Accounting 2 class, which I love…no, not really.

My blood sugar was dropping. I could feel it, but I didn’t have anything to grab. I had to dip into my emergency supply just the other day and forgot to refill it. I suspended my pump in hopes that it would stop the problem. If not, I was going to have to leave early or find the vending machine. I really hoped I could stay, because I really need to learn what’s going on right now.
We had an observer in class today. What did she have? Coffee and a few other smell – good things. She was killing me.
In my last post I talked about how when your blood sugar is dropping you feel like you’re starving. Yep. My hands were weak and a little shaky, I was starving, and she had sugary substances with her that smelled AMAZING.
What happened to that elementary rule: bring enough for everyone?
I was sitting there really wishing that I was the coffee lady. She just seemed like a good person to be at the moment. It sounded better than being me at the time.

So, since I wasn’t feeling good, naturally my professor called on me to talk about accounting. Was I prepared? No. Did she understand why? Sure didn’t.

There was a long pause followed by me saying, “I don’t know. Maybe we could try manufacturing overhead allocated.”

Luckily, that was actually right. She was unhappy because I started from the bottom of the list (which didn’t matter for this problem). I’m pretty sure she thought I hadn’t been listening. I had been, but focusing suddenly becomes very difficult when you’re facing a low. Some people will just never understand.

I can’t make everyone happy, and at that particular moment I wasn’t really all that concerned with how happy she was. Most people at school aren’t very understanding when it comes to things like this. They understand that there’s a problem, but they don’t see how it keeps you from being able to focus.

Sometimes I have trouble. Other times I don’t. It just depends.

After being in class for 40 minutes I finally started to feel normal again. I waited another 10 minutes just to be sure and hit “resume” on my pump. I left about 20 minutes after that and my sugar was 103 when I got home. I’m not exactly sure how low I was, but this proves that I was getting down there.

All of this could have been avoided if I had just been the coffee lady instead of myself for that class period.

Or if I’d had a snack stored somewhere. I had money, but the vending machine was on a different floor. I’m not even sure exactly where. I figured it would be easier to suspend the pump and deal with it that way.

It worked and when I got home I went for the carbs.

Sitting there feeling like that when someone in the room has something that smells that good is just torture. What a morning.

What Does A “Low” Feel Like?

The other day I was laying beside my boyfriend and we were watching a show. I told him that I would be right back. I needed to go get something because I could feel my sugar dropping.

He asked, “Really? You can feel it drop?”

I said, “Yeah. I can feel it.”

“Can you explain what it feels like?” he asked.

No one has ever asked me that. It’s kind of a hard thing to describe, honestly. I did my best.

It may feel a little bit different depending on the person, but this is what it feels like to me:

“You can feel it drop in your chest and stomach area. Sometimes when it drops really fast it almost feels like an actual falling sensation in your mid-section. You really do feel it in your core. It spreads to your hands, and eventually they’ll start to shake if it gets low enough. Sometimes pretty badly, too. When your sugar is dropping, your hands will start to feel funny too. The best way I know to describe it is to think of when your hand goes to sleep. Take away the pins and needles sensation, and then water the feeling down a little. As it gets lower you can feel the heat rise up into your cheeks. Your face flushes and you’ll be hot. It’s a surprisingly intense heat. It’s similar to the heat you would experience when standing in front of an oven or the feeling you get in your face when you’re embarrassed. If I’ve been laying down or I’ve been asleep, I get up foggy. My vision is often a little blurred and I get dizzy at first. My head just feels heavy. It doesn’t hurt, but it feels heavy. It’s similar to when you get up when you’re sick, but like I said there’s no pain. It’s the strangest feeling because my heart races and sometimes I’m short on breath. I have a lot of adrenaline when my blood sugar is really low. Adrenaline normally makes you feel powerful, but I feel weak and shaky. It’s really strange to feel that rush in the core of your body, but also feel weak at the same time. Whether you’re hungry or not you’ll suddenly feel like you’re starving. I think it’s your body’s natural way of protecting you. It creates this feeling so that you will eat and stay alive. You get that little rush of adrenaline and that overwhelming feeling of hunger as your last push to go do what you need to do. Eat.”

That’s how I described it to him. The was the best way I could think of to, and I know I didn’t really hit the nail quite on the head with my description. You’ll often see the symptoms listed, but they don’t describe what it feels like to be low.

Like I said, this is my description of what it feels like to me. It may feel different for other people. We will all share the shakiness and a few other symptoms, of course.

Highs are different, and maybe I’ll try to describe that someday.

Does anyone else experience something different or have a better way of describing what it feels like?

Dreaming Of A Bike Ride

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I finally got my bike! I bought it Sunday while I was visiting a town about an hour away. I didn’t buy the one that I originally wanted. I was going to buy just a plain black Del Rio Cruiser, but I love this one. It’s different. It’s blue, which is my favorite. Did I mention that it’s a tad different?

Monday after work I went home. My blood sugar was 395! Not where I want it…

I ate a little bit and took 10 units of insulin. That’s way more than I usually take, but I’m not normally that high. I don’t like taking that much, but it had to happen. I was really surprised when I saw that number.

I then took my bike out for the first time. It was about 70 degrees outside, and it was amazing. I hooked a bag to the handlebars and loaded it with two things: a rice krispy treat (for life-saving purposes, should it happen) and my phone (for music, measuring distance, and also for an emergency).

I had my destination picked out. I road 4 miles altogether. This is only my third bike in my lifetime. That’s including the tiny one I learned on, and I haven’t had a bike for years. I used to love it. It wasn’t as easy as I remembered it being a long time ago, but I rode day-in and day-out then. Running is hard on my knees, and my legs often go from working perfectly to…. well, not so perfectly. Riding a bike doesn’t have the same jarring motions. It’s more fluid, and I haven’t had any problem with my knees, hips, etc. I’m not even sore today.

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I chose a comfort bike. It has bigger tires and allows for more cushion. It’s actually kind of perfect. I didn’t want a mountain bike or anything of that sort.

I think this is going to be something that I do quite often. It will be a good source of exercise for me. I just like being outside and I like doing stuff.

I was going to take some picture on my ride, but I haven’t found a good way to carry my camera yet. Plus, I think I was probably too busy looking around and enjoying myself yesterday to take any pictures anyhow.

After my bike ride I tested my blood sugar. It was 293. Better, but not satisfying. I finally ended up changing my site, and my sugar has been fine ever since then. I guess that spot just built some resistance pretty quickly.

That evening my boyfriend came over after work. He thinks I’m silly because I’m just obsessed with this bike and the idea of having a bike. I told him what I did and he just looked at me.

“Did you really?” he asked.

“Well, yeah, really.” I replied.

“I don’t think I could even do that. 4 miles?”

“Yep. 4 miles.”

My mom was just as surprised when I told her. I don’t know if it’s surprising because I’m diabetic, because I’m small, because I haven’t had a bike, or if it’s just surprising for anyone.

I love this bike, and I really enjoyed yesterday. There’s only one thing, okay, two things that I’m not so crazy about.

1. It’s not a motorcycle. That will happen for me one day, I’m telling you.

2. What my dad said.

I’ll elaborate on point 2 a little more. I loaded my bike into the back of the car Sunday afternoon. My mom drove and my dad had the passenger seat. This bike took up the entire car, so I rode with it in the hatch back. We were leaving my grandma’s house. We have a bicycle stored there. It’s a mountain bike, but the gears are messed up. It’s not really an easy ride when you can get it to work.

Dad said, “You know, I could get that bike next week and take it home. I could fix it and go riding with Madison.”

Now, I would love for this to happen, but it kind of broke my heart. The reason being, my dad is 75. He’s on oxygen most of the time, he has heart problems, he has terrible circulation, a bad back, he’s on a ton of medications that can make him dizzy, and the list goes on. And on. And on.

He can’t ride a bike. It’s simple, but who can tell him? I’d push him in a wheel barrel if it wouldn’t embarrass him.

He was excited, and he really loves my bike. It’s a modern twist on an older style. He’s in love with the seat and just loves the fact that I’m a cooky teenager who has a car but wants a bike.

I wish I could take him somehow. His health problems have finally put a stop to him doing the things that he loves. I’m glad mine haven’t, and I hope they never do.

But anyway, that’s what I’m going to do. Ride my bike when I can and get some exercise during this lovely weather. I’m going to listen to music, carry my camera, and have tiny adventures that I can tell him about.

I don’t plan on being a world champion, but I think this will be a good thing.

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The only difference I will face: I’ll have emergency snacks.

I’m Like Frankenstein

Well, today is a rainy day. So rainy in fact, we have a flash flood warning. After all the snow and the rain, the ground just can’t handle anymore. That’s Missouri for you. This summer we’ll be on our knees begging for rain. So I haven’t had any adventures today.

My back is still hurting today. I’m not exactly sure what I did, but it had to have been in my sleep. There’s no telling since I sleep like someone who’s been possessed. So I’ve been a little distracted by that today and haven’t done much reading on the topic of diabetes. Which means… I don’t really have anything spectacular to post (not that I normally do).

I thought that instead today I might just post a fun little story. You wouldn’t think that diabetes would create very many fun little stories, but it happens.

I had posted one earlier this month and I enjoyed writing about it. This one isn’t as good, but it’s a story.

I was diagnosed just after turning 15 1/2. I received my pump about a year later, making me 16. For a long time after being put on a pump I didn’t want people to know. I wasn’t ashamed by any means. I just didn’t want to draw attention to myself because I hadn’t really mastered what to say yet. I never clipped it where it could be shown, I made sure to wear shirts that didn’t cling and show that there was something attached to my stomach, I made sure it never had a reason to beep during class, and I always let people assume that the bulge in my pocket was my Ipod or my phone.

Anyway, summer rolled around. I was a 16-year-old girl who loved being outdoors. (Still do).

What did I want to do?

Go swimming.

I went a few times and kept my towel wrapped around my stomach until I made it to the water. I felt like if I let anyone see it I would be bombarded with questions. Questions that I didn’t want to deal with. Questions that I didn’t want to answer. Questions that, frankly, shouldn’t be any of their business. That’s how I felt.

One day, for whatever reason, I decided that it would be okay. I wanted to feel confident. I didn’t, but I wanted to. I knew that I never would if I kept hiding myself. So… I went that day and left the towel behind.

Did people stare? Yes. They didn’t gawk, but some heads turned and focused on my site.

I came out feeling 10 feet tall, and with each step I got a little shorter. I was slowly feeling more awkward, but I was okay. I was still maybe 6 feet tall when it happened.

A little boy (somewhere around 8 or 9) came running up to me. He pointed and asked, “What’s that?”

Now, I had planned on coming out and not concealing it. I had planned on some people looking at me. I had planned on maybe feeling a little out of place. I hadn’t planned for anyone to actually ask me this.

I just looked at him. I couldn’t think of a good explanation for him. I went blank. What was this thing again and why did I have it?

After a few seconds I replied, “I’m a science experiment.”

He gasped and asked, “Like Frankenstein?

“Exactly, ” I answered.

That boy ran off, and I think I might have become his hero that day.

No one else has ever asked me when I’ve gone to the pool or gone swimming. Just that little boy, and he was perfectly okay with my answer.

Now, that wasn’t the best answer, but in my defense it was my first attempt. Now I’m sure that I would be much better at it.

Since then on one other occasion I went to the pool and saw a little girl. She was probably 4 or 5, and she too had an insulin pump. I walked past her and I remember the way she looked at me. It seemed to calm her knowing that I was there, and by the look she gave me I would say that she had probably never seen someone else with one. It was kind of an awesome feeling, really. To know that just by being there I had given someone else comfort and allowed them to realize that they weren’t the only one in the world that had one. Every time I would look over she would be looking at me. I never went over and talked to her. I wanted to, but wasn’t really sure how. (I’m really bad that way).

I’ve only ever met two other people in my life that have an insulin pump. One went to high school with me, and she was also very private when it came to hers. All of the other diabetic kids that used to come to the nurse’s office to test before lunch used pens or syringes. None of them wanted a pump. Several were actually afraid of getting one. They don’t seem to be widely understood in my area. I’m not sure why.

The other was also a little girl. I went to the eye doctor for my yearly exam, and her daughter had a pump. She was 9, I believe. My eye doctor asked me if she could come in and meet me. Of course I said yes. She had never met another person who had one. Hers looked just like mine and we compared. Since we both had the same model, we knew exactly what the other person had. Even so, hers was interesting to me and mine was interesting to her. There was nothing for either of us to see, but we both saw something. It was just a neat experience to hold an insulin pump that is attached to someone else. It might be the same as yours, but it’s not yours. That’s kind of special.

So, in my entire life I have met 3 other people with an insulin pump. (That I know of).

Seeing someone with an insulin pump and all you can think about are the aliens from Toy Story. “One of us.”

I’ve explained to the best of my ability what I have to other people. I’m much better at it than I used to be. My first attempt (if you can call it that) was a little comical. It takes practice.