Saturday, November 21, 2015

Rough Season

I am ready to have children. I never thought I would get to that point in my life, but I have. I never thought my husband would be ready for that point in his life, but he has. We got down to business 7 months ago and all I could think about during the summer was is this ever going to happen? It was frustrating, and sometimes depressing. But we kept moving forward while processing it all. And then right before we left for vacation, I started to notice feeling different. It finally happened. I got pregnant! 

We were so excited and scared about everything. It was funny to think that we had planned for this for months and now in the reality of it, we were just shocked. Then all the doctors appointments began and I learned a lot. For starters, you will not only live at your diabetes doctors office, but you will also live at your lady doctors office. Even though I knew how tight I needed my numbers to be, what I started learning right away was how hard it is to keep them in range. I was able to get my A1c down to a 6.3 and was feeling great about everything. 

It was time to hear the heartbeat. I brought the hubs with me for this event we were both still shocked and couldn't believe this was the next phase of our life, but we were beyond excited. The ultra sound started, they measured everything, but there was one thing missing...a heartbeat. We were unbelievably devastated. All I could think about was if I had done something wrong, and was this diabetes related. Our doctor was great and reassured us, that this wasn't my fault or diabetes related, especially after I told him my A1c. We decided to wait for my body to do what it was supposed to do and just waited for things to happen. 

I always worried about what my blood sugars would do during childbirth. I was worried they would drop and I wouldn't have the energy to push or get through it. But now I know, they will skyrocket through the entire thing. The entire night I had to keep giving myself more and more insulin even though I wasn't eating. I stayed in the 200's the entire night. I also learned the importance of letting your partner or spouse understand how your diabetes devices work because I had to walk my husband through finger sticks, insulin injections (which he wasn't comfortable doing), resetting my pump after I ripped out the sight by accident, and how to use my new insulin pump. I always had the impression that this was my disease and I had everything under control, until that night. That night was the first night I needed someone to help me with my diabetes, I was completely vulnerable in every way imaginable. But thanks to the hubs I got through it all. 

It has been a really rough season for my hubs and I. But I have been trying to get through it by focusing on all the positives I learned from this experience. First and foremost, I can get pregnant. That is huge in itself and I need to remember that. Second, I now know what to expect from my diabetes in moments like these. And third, the hubs is a rock star in trying times and I am so grateful to have him by my side. I would just like to send out my sympathy and sorrow for others who have had to go through this. There are no words, but I want you to know you will always be in my heart and thoughts, even though I may never meet you. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

10 Years of Diabetes

I did a guest blog post this year with Diabetes Mine sharing my story of living with diabetes for 10 years. Be sure to check out my post on their website. And here is my story to celebrate 10 years of living with Type 1 diabetes. 

I had just moved away from home to go to college. I was 18, living on my own and beginning the next chapter of my life. I was working at a bakery during the mornings and going to school in the evening. I thought I had it all figured out. Then I started to feel exhausted, my restroom breaks were affecting my classes and work, and I was dropping a ton of weight. The losing weight thing wasn't a huge red flag for me, I thought I was having another growth spurt, but I would soon learn that wasn't the case at all.

I had a bladder infection and decided to stop by the urgent care after class. I used to get them all the time and didn't think much of it. I peed in the cup and waited for the doctor to come in. When he came in the room he had an odd look on his face while going through my chart. Then he proceeded to tell me they found ketones in the urine and were going to test my blood sugars. I had no idea what a ketone was and thought he was crazy for thinking I had diabetes. I was healthy, thin, and young. It didn't make any sense.

They tested my blood sugars and I was at 250mg/dl. I explained to the doctor that I had just had a Dr. Pepper and was sure that that was all it was. He explained that that wasn't the case and that he was going to refer me to a physician to treat me for diabetes and write me a prescription for my bladder infection. I called my mom in tears I couldn't believe it. I had diabetes. I didn't even know what it fully meant, but thought it was the end of days. My mom came to my first appointment, where we learned about the honeymoon phase and that I would be treated like a Type 2 with oral medication until my pancreas decided to stop making insulin.

It was a hard transition full of emotions. Learning how to eat with this disease was the biggest frustration. Everything has carbs?! I thought I was going to starve. Experiencing my first low while having a dance party with my roommate made me want to cry. Why was it so hard to do the things I loved to do? It was hard, I just wanted everything to go back to normal. But I was soon going to learn that it wouldn't.

After learning that I had Type 1 diabetes and going through the 5 stages of grieving I was able to understand that my life would look different. I got on an insulin pump shortly after, which helped ease things up a little. And when I got used to living with diabetes after 2 or 3 years I started feeling comfortable talking about it with people. The more I talked about it the more I realized the lack of knowledge there was about this disease. I wanted to share my story to help teach people about what life if really like living with diabetes. Give people some hope and clarity in a confusing situation.

After 10 years of living with this disease I have learned it's not that bad. You have to laugh about it and find community in it because doing it alone is the hardest thing I have ever done. This disease is frustrating and hard, but has honestly done a lot of good in my life. It taught me how to be self sufficient when it came to health, it helped me to be more in tune with my body, and to laugh things off. Don't let diabetes be the thing that ruins you instead make it the thing that empowers you. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Elle and Coach

Stefany Shaheen is the mother to Elle Shaheen. She shares the story of her daughters Type 1 diagnosis, the fears and frustrations that come from living with this disease, and how as a family they decided to never give up hope. After a few hospital visits and a seizure the family welcomes Coach, a medic-alert dog who is able to give some comfort for the first time in their diabetes world.

I was approached to write a review of Elle and Coach back in September. My first reaction was, "do I really want to read a book about a girl and her medic-alert dog"? I am so glad I didn't go with my gut reaction, or else I would have missed out on a great read. I couldn't put this book down. I finished it in two days, and recommended it to my mom after the 4th chapter. I could easily connect with this family's story. While reading about their struggles, I remembered experiencing the same struggles. Their frustrations, were my frustrations. All I wanted to do was encourage Stefany that it was going to be ok, it will get better over time. It's been so long since I have read a book and identified with it as much as I did.

The thing that I loved the most about this family was how they refused to let diabetes stop them from living. I admired Elle for not giving up on the things that she loved. I was older when I was diagnosed, and thought dance had to go, but here is this 8 year old who knew better than I did and I respect her for it. I love that she still embraced life by performing in theatre and going to summer camp. But what I loved most of all was her want to make things better not only for herself, but others as well. Her participation in medical studies, attending the JDRF's Children's Conference to helping put on the conference blew my mind. All I could think about was how this girl is going places.

This book is for anyone looking for some hope in a tough situation. It  shows a mother's love and devotion and shares a message to never give up. Truly a great read.