Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Short and Sweet

So I just wanted to give a brief update and explain why I haven't updated my blog in a little while. I recently received and offer from a Diabetes website to be a regular blogger there and I decided to go on a little hiatus until I started there, which will be in a few weeks. I will definitely keep everyone posted when that happens that you can continue to follow me over there! I am very excited for the opportunity and can't wait to start!

I also wanted to let everyone know that I finally got a job so I can now pay for my medications and food. Things are looking up! I have an appointment today with the Endocrinologist. It will be my first one in a long time so wish me luck!

Sorry this is so brief, but there will be plenty more come July! Thanks for reading and your support!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Cost Of Being Sick

Life gets really tough when you don't have any money. I don't think there is anyone out there who would disagree with that. Let me tell you, it is even worse when you are broke and have a disease like Diabetes. It isn't like you can skip out on your medication until you can afford it. You do that--nothing good will come of it, to say the least. When you have to add a healthy diet to the equation, it almost seems impossible. The bottom line is: things are getting really tight, and if I don't find a job soon, I really don't know what I am gong to do.

Something that I did not mention earlier is the fact that when I first got diagnosed in 2009, I had no insurance. It sounds like that would be a bad thing, but I was helped--a lot. The social worker did everything she could to make sure that I got everything I needed and she looked up every free program she could find. The hospital had a free program for people like me so that I could go to the outpatient clinic there. The program also extended to the Endocrinologist. I was also was told about a free prescription program that would send me whatever medications I needed. I was all set.

Since everything was just sent to me for free, I didn't even really think about it. Life went on, as you read, for better or worse. When my efforts began to dwindle, my medications began to accumulate. I didn't even notice when my coverage stopped. They sent me something to reapply, but to be honest, I don't even remember getting it. I guess I was just too depressed.

When I started school, since I did not have insurance, I was required to buy the student insurance they offered. It didn't sound like a bad idea anyway. I also stopped working completely to just focus on school and I was living off of students loans. I wouldn't quite say I was doing alright. My diet consisted mainly of things that cost $1, and as you can imagine, that can't be healthy. After my few months of complete denial, when I decided to start taking care of myself, I called the prescription program to see if I can get some meds sent to me. I was not eligible anymore because of my new insurance. I called the hospital to ask them to write me a prescription. Of course, I had to be seen first. 2 or 3 weeks later, I finally got an appointment. They wrote my prescriptions out and when I went to go pick them up, I began to really worry. It was $25 for one of my insulins. That may not sound like a lot since without insurance it would have cost about $150. I shouldn't complain, right? Well since they both cost be $25, that means I needed to pay $50 a month just for my meds. When you don't have a job, that is a lot of money.

So, as of right now, I am not out of my meds yet, but it will happen. I have already began digging into my rent money to buy food. I guess I will just have to keep digging. I am desperate to find a job and I am getting extremely worried. I will not let that stop me from keeping myself healthy, though. I am determined.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Love and Denial

When I started school in the Fall of 2010, things got even more interesting--and very hectic and confusing. Since I had been single for 3 years, I was hoping to land myself a boyfriend in school. That dream came true on my very first day. I was sitting on a bench outside on of the buildings and Troy came to sit down next to me. We started talking and have been together practically every day since. I started to spend every night at his apartment and we started drinking a lot. We had a lot of fun together, but little by little, my Diabetes drifted out of my mind. At first, Troy wasn't even aware I had the disease. I pretty much stopped taking my insulin and I stopped testing my blood sugars. As our relationship became more serious, I told him. He didn't know anything about Diabetes and nothing about what Diabetics have to do. Which I didn't mind.

This went on for months. I did manage to take my Lantus almost everyday, so that is all that Troy thought I needed to do. He just figured all Diabetics had to pee all the time. It frustrated him, but he got used to it. The longer this went on, the more in denial I went. Although I was expecting romance to take my hand and escort me out of my depression, it didn't. I fell deeper and deeper. I stopped going to doctor's all together. Everything just fell to the wayside.

After a while, I moved in with Troy and things started to change a bit for me. I found a new comfort in thinking that we were going to be together forever. I started to dream about our future. It made me happy but at the same time, I was worried. I knew I had to start taking care of myself and I told him that. He had no idea that I wasn't in the first place. The problem I was having was that I hadn't taken care of myself in so long, I fell out of the habit. This meant that I would forget--a lot. Too often.

A few times I would cry to Troy. Sometimes I would tell him I wanted to die. Sometimes I would tell him that I wanted to live--just not with Diabetes. I would warn him that I may not live that much longer. I imagine that I must have confused him and stressed him out completely. He stood by me, though. He was very supportive and I love him for that.

One night, a few weeks ago, I had a new outlook. I wanted to live, no matter what. I wanted to have children. I wanted a family with Troy and I sat him down and talked to him about it. I said to him that I was going to start preparing to have a baby. I reassured him that I wasn't expecting to have one very soon, but that it was going to be my motivation to take care of myself and my body. He smiled and gave me a hug. The next day, I called the doctor and made an appointment.

That pretty much brings everyone to where I am right now. Thank you for reading my story so far, and I hope that you will continue to come back and join me in my journey. If you wouldn't mind, please leave comments or questions down below. I would really like some feedback. Thanks! Until next time!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ike's Momento

Over the summer of 2010, my whole life, once again, had turned upside down. When my mother let me sleep on her couch, she gave me the chance to quit my current job (which I honestly hated) and go back to school. I took the chance and was so excited to quit, I did it within 2 weeks. Of course, I still needed a job, at least until I started school, so I found a job at a local water park for the summer. Other than that, I was doing my best to fully enjoy my time before I started school. As the end of the summer approached, I realized that I needed to find some way to make money while I went to school, so I found a place who was hiring and they called me in for an orientation, but it almost didn't happen.

A few days before I had to go in, I had a few friends over. Now, usually this was not a bad thing, but my mother's dog, Ike, decided he wasn't up for company. Ike's an English Bulldog how has a history for biting feet. When my friends came over, there was utter chaos, and Ike came charging down the stairs. He made his way into the crowd and his teeth barely brushed my friend's foot. I jumped in front of the bullet and before I knew it, he had his teeth sunk into the top of my foot and he wouldn't let go. My brother tried to pull him away, although no one realized he was gnawing on my foot until I yelled as loud as I could. What would you know? I ended up in the ER once again. They stitched me up and wrapped it and sent me on my way.

The next day, I took the wrap off and it was red, swollen, and obviously infected and for a diabetic, that is never a good thing--especially when it is on your foot. That is how limbs get amputated. I went back to the ER 2 more times until they finally admitted me. I was there for a week, again. While they were admitting me, I let them know that I had an orientation in a few days and asked if they thought if it was a possibility that I could still go. They said it was ok, and they would send the message along.

My stay at the hospital this time was less than ideal to say the least. When the day came for the orientation, I took a shower and got dressed, knowing that the day before I told 3 doctors about it and they all said ok. I called my brother to come get me and 10 minutes before I left, another doctor came in and thought I was crazy and said that it was not ok, and that no one should have told me that it was. I made a huge fuss, and he finally let me go. Talk about a communication problem.

Another huge problem I came across at the hospital was the nurses and their lack of knowledge about my condition. You see, I take Lantus, my once-a-day insulin, in the afternoon. It is just easier for me that way. The hospital decided they wanted to give it to me a night after a few days. They had given it to me at 3 one afternoon, and that night some ditzy little nurse comes in and starts to fill a syringe up with Lantus. I told her that I take it at 3 and that I already had my shot for the day. She insisted that it was doctor's orders and that they were switching me to night time. She walks over with the syringe and I told her again. She wasn't listening to me. She began to prepare me for my shot and I pushed her hand away and I was getting angry. She finally said "I'll go talk to the doctor" and left. An hour later she comes back and told me that I was right and she was wrong. Pardon my French, but that bitch could have killed me.

After a week, the swelling went down and the infection diminished. They sent me home on crutches and I was finally free. About a month later, my mother came to accept the fact that Ike had to be put down, and she set up an appointment for him to be put to sleep. As much as he was a danger at times, though, he really was a sweet dog and I still miss him sometimes. At least I have a scar on my foot to remind me of him, and I will have the scar for the rest of my life.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Driving In The Breakdown Lane

Anyone who has Diabetes can tell you that the period of time after the initial shock is a difficult one. Some call it the honeymoon period. I'm not sure I have a name for it, but it was anything but a honeymoon. The biggest problem I had in the beginning was getting constant blood sugar drops. I mostly got them at work, and to tell you the truth, I really didn't mind. I sort of liked taking more breaks and not to mention--it was another excuse to eat which I love to do. It was also a relief to me. I figured that it was better to be too low because I had been so high for so long. According to my doctor, this wasn't the case. Oh well, I suppose.

It was soon, then, that my personal life began to fall apart. I lost my car, my apartment, and above all, I lost control. I found a new home on my mother's couch and depression set in. My Diabetes got too much to handle for me, and my health concern began to slip through the cracks. That is when the suicidal thoughts began to pull up a chair in my mind. The "lows" that my doctor warned me about seemed to sound like a better idea every time I thought about it. More and more I found myself considering filling up my syringe and just injecting as much insulin as possible into myself. One night, I realized that I needed help.

I remember that night vividly. I had taken my mother's car out for a drive because I just needed to think. I couldn't believe this had happened to me. Why me? I wasn't strong enough to deal with this sort of thing! My life was a mess as it was. I couldn't handle anything else. I began to cry hysterically. I yelled and screamed and pounded on the steering wheel. I almost drove myself off the road. I pulled over and let it out as much as I could. When my fit had calmed, I drove back home to my mother. I woke up her and told her everything I was thinking and feeling. She felt that it was best to go to the ER.

That night was the last night I had those horrible thoughts. Perhaps it was just another step that I needed to take in the long road ahead of me. Just thinking about it, though, brings tears to my eyes. It will still be a long time until I accepted the fact that I am a diabetic. Stay tuned for more of my story!

A Brief History and Introduction

Let me introduce myself. I am Mary, I am 29, and I am a diabetic mess--or at least I have been up until now. Before I get into the "now", though, let me take you back two years to where my ominous adventure began.

I was 27 and my life was going fine. All of the sudden, everything started to change. I was getting these strange symptoms that I had never experienced before. I was always thirsty and was taking more bathroom breaks than anyone at work. This went on for about a week or so and I finally decided that there was something wrong. I wasn't exactly sure what, so I went over my mother's house and talked to her about it. Being a Type 2 Diabetic, she immediately recognized the problem and quickly got her meter out and pricked my finger. Sure enough, my blood sugar was well above 500--not that I knew what that meant at the time. Concerned, she rushed my over to the Emergency Room where they did test after test. They eventually diagnosed me as a Type 2 and sent me home with a prescription for Metformin. I was very confused how this could have happened. I was a relatively healthy 27 year old woman who was not in the least obese (which I thought at the time you had to be to get Diabetes). They assured me that it was possible .
I took the Metformin for about a month, thinking "this isn't so bad". Everyone that I told said that it was a good thing I didn't get the "other type". I didn't know much about the "other type" except that it was the kind children got and it had nothing to do with lifestyle or diet. Basically, Type 1 wasn't your fault. I guess I sort of wished deep down that it had been, so that I couldn't blame myself for giving myself the disease.

During this month, I began to drop pounds like crazy. Everyone complemented me and I felt great. I figured it was because of the new diet I was on. One day at work, I had some sudden back pain. I had decided it must have been from lifting a heavy box at work and my boss sent me over to the clinic to get it checked out. It would be two weeks until I returned back to work. At the clinic, the doctor was very concerned and he admitted there was nothing he could do, and so he sent me to the ER. I was in Diabetic Ketoacidosis with an new, official diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.

I set up residence in the hospital for a week after that. For the first 3 days, they wouldn't let me eat a thing and just gave me fluids and insulin through an IV. It was excruciating. Every hour, they came in and poked my fingers. My room was swarming with nurses, doctors, and CNAs on top of all the social workers, educators, family and friends. Everything happened so fast that I felt like a deer in headlights. I didn't even have time to feel anything--emotionally that is. It wasn't until one of my last nights there when I finally broke down and cried. I felt safe in the hospital and I was nervous to go out on my own to fend for myself. I knew that I didn't have the strength and will power to do it with no one there watching me. Nevertheless, I had to move on.

They sent me home with a goody bag of stuff, including my very own testing meter as well as pamphlet upon pamphlet of information that would end up just collecting dust. I stayed out of work another week and when I returned, everyone was my new best friend, assisting me in any way they could. I assured them I was fine, but was thankful for all the support.

This was probably one of the worst moments of my life, as you can imagine. My story goes on, though. I will continue it in my next few posts to get you up to speed with my situation. What I hope to do is help others through this blog who have gone, or are going through, the same thing as me. I am here for you, if you need me. Feel free to comment to message me with anything you want! And please, keep coming back to hear more of my story!