If I Wrote a Novel About Type 1

It’s NaNoWriMo season.  And in case you’ve never heard of that, I’ll fill you in.  NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month.

I can’t imagine writing a novel.  Let alone writing it in just a month’s time.  But what I can imagine is me finishing up my collection of a couple handfuls of essays about my T1 diabetes.  I’ve started and stopped this project a couple of times already.  I always start it because I really want to… I like looking back at how things, and seeing how far I’ve come.  I think you can only recognize your best kind of growth when you look back.  I think all of our stories of diagnosis, and how we dealt (and are dealing) with it are interesting. Every now and then, I get on a roll with this writing project, but then lose steam when I get busy with something that needs my attention.

But hey!  This NaNoWriMo thing is a great kick-start to finish the first draft of my book about Type 1.  I’ve already written an outline and maybe about half of it the essays.  With one dedicated month, maybe I can pull it off.  One month.  That’s 4 weeks.  30 days.  Actually, 29, since I’m starting on November 2nd.

So here’s my pledge- to myself more than anyone else really-

I will write each day this month towards finishing my book about diabetes. According to the outline I made last year anyway, it will have 14 chapters. I feel like I should be able to get the first draft done for all 14 chapters.  That’s my goal.  It’s doable.

And yes, I realize it’s not technically a novel.  But like I said, I can’t imagine writing a novel.  Not yet, anyway. But I can imagine writing the book I have in mind.  I don’t think the NaNoWriMo rules are real strict, so I’m sure it’s okay.

I’ve heard it said before, “Write what you know.” I KNOW you, T1 Diabetes.  I remember how we met, and I know that whether I like it or not, I’m stuck with you.  I choose to see you as a good thing in my life, and I’m going to keep on making that choice daily.  Just know, the tell-all is currently being written.

Being Patient with Type 1

I haven’t had any clearly defined complications due to having lived with Type 1 for over 20 years.  And I’m seriously grateful for that.  BUT from time to time, I have little ailments that I wonder… Is this connected to being a Type 1?

My A1c tends to be anywhere from about 5.5% to 6.3%, and as time goes by and technology improves, it tends to be lower as the years go by.  I work hard and obsess over keeping my blood sugars in range, but still, I have spikes and drops in my blood sugars on a daily basis.  So, I’m far from perfect when it comes to blood sugar control.

In the past, I’ve had to have two surgeries for trigger finger.  One, for my left pinky, and the other, for my right thumb (ouch. that one was a bitch.) Before I finally got the surgery, I tried cortizone shots.  But they only helped for a short period of time, and then the trigger finger would return. The surgery, in my opinion anyway, was actually less painful than the shots. And, once you have the surgery, the problem doesn’t return. YAY!  I have read about the correlation between diabetes and trigger finger.  It has to do with inflammation.  Who knows, maybe I would have had this problem regardless, but I suspect Type 1 played a pretty big role in it.

The surgeon I used for my finger trigger insinuated that I would heal quickly from the surgery, but both times, that was not the case.  And again, I wonder, am I a slower to heal because of my Type 1?  Even though my blood sugar control is good?

Lately, I’ve been having problems with my right shoulder. Not from an injury, but just over time, it’s gotten more and more sensitive, and my range of motion has become more limited.  I got an MRI, and learned that I have bursitus and tendonitus.  Again, an inflammation problem.  And again, I wonder… is this related to my Type 1?

And even more lately- just the last 2 weeks- I’ve started having numbing in my left hand.  I’ve been to a doctor about it, a physical therapist about it, and had an MRI.  It could be related to spine problems I’ve had for many years, or it could be carpel tunnel.  (More on that later, in another post- but for now, that’s enough to make my point.) Again, I’m wondering, “Dammit.  Is THIS because of my diabetes?”

So although I’m not usually pissed at diabetes, sometimes I am.  Right now, my numb left hand is so pissed that it wants to punch my diabetes in the face.

But that anger isn’t going to do me any good.  It might even cause more inflammation, which I think this is all related to anyway.  Maybe inflamed emotions lead to more inflamed body parts.

Maybe it’s a good time to just breathe.  And remember that this is just a moment in time and it’s going to pass.  And things might be stiff, and tingly and even numb, but still- everything is working. (“That’s what she said!”)

I’m writing this today to remind myself how fortunate I am.  Fortunate for good insurance.  Fortunate that I have nothing too extreme going on that I am limited from enjoying my normal happy life. Fortunate that I have the money to get the therapies I choose to help me through this.  Fortunate to have friends I can call on (or text) to bitch to. It’s all good.  I know my body is working on healing.  Maybe it takes me a little longer to do that, but I can be patient.

Needless Excuses for my A1c

I was suppose to go see my endocrinologist a couple of months ago.  No fault of my doctor, but the place he used to practice shut down.  With no notice!  Diabetes America, no more!

Because there was some lapse in time between Diabetes America unexpectedly closing down and Dr. Mora opening up in a new spot, I haven’t been in to get my A1c checked since December.

I figured it would be pretty good because I have a Dexcom, so I have that information available.  But the last month has been pretty challenging because we were out of town during the entire month of June. We were eating out more than usual, and at places that I didn’t know how long the wait time was, so my insulin doses were often “off”, and my blood sugars suffered because of it.  I saw way more spikes than I like to, or than I normally do.

As I drove to my appointment yesterday, I said a little prayer hoping that this new place Dr. Mora is practicing out of will have the “finger stick method” rather than the from the “vein method” for my lab work. It’s ridiculous that I’m so squeamish with veins, but I am.  I could never be an intravenous drug user- I would never be tempted to shoot drugs up for sure! So, that’s a bonus.  Anyway… Praise Hallelujah!!!  It was just a finger prick.

But even more Praise Hallelujah than that- My A1c came back lower than ever.  5.5%. So even though the last month has been a challenge, I worked hard enough that it didn’t screw things up.

I hadn’t checked the Dexcom Clarity app lately, but I did check after I got my lab results back from my doctor yesterday.  Although Clarity no longer gives a predicted A1c, it does tell your blood sugar average over a 90 day period (which is essentially what the A1c result refers to), and mine was 115.  According to the chart below, my A1c should be 5.4% based on that… That’s pretty close! And I’m very happy.  And proud!  My OCD behaviors are paying off.

As I drove to my appointment, besides saying my prayers about the blood draw via finger prick, I also mulled over my excuses I would give to Dr. Mora in case my A1C was higher than it had been at my last appointment. It’s funny that I feel I owe him excuses.  As if I’m being graded and my lab tests are something I either did or didn’t study for. As if it’s him I’m trying to impress. But I think it’s a common patient behavior. I know I’m not alone in this.

I’m not quite sure if the last month’s blood sugar average has more impact than the previous two months on the A1C, so I was a bit worried.  I was going to tell my doctor, “Traveling gave me an added challenge.” Paired up with, “Also, I’m a woman of a certain age, and I’m sort of going through “puberty” and it’s messing with my blood sugars.”  I will always have an excuse, because life always throws us little challenges, and sometimes big challenges.  But, we keep plugging away, and we keep trying our best.  And sometimes, you end up rewarded for all that trying. And this time, I was definitely rewarded!

And that’s the greatest motivation for me to keep trying my best. Not for my doctor.  But for me.

Yay, ME!

The Complications of Type 1 Diabetes

The other day, on another blog I write called Resparkable Vintage, I posted about my contribution for the upcoming JDRF Dream Gala Auction.  That website is really all about my repurposed vintage handmade designs, but in that particular post, since I mentioned the JDRF Gala, as well as the fact that I’m a Type 1, I gave a brief explanation about Type 1, thinking probably most of the readers over there don’t know much, if anything, about it.

Mainly, I just said Type 1 is an auto immune disease, and that our bodies don’tt produce insulin on their own, so therefore we have to inject synthetic insulin multiple times on a daily basis to survive.  I also mentioned that it’s a complicated disease.

And it is.  It’s hard to explain to someone what all of that means- Because what does insulin do exactly?  And that thing I mentioned about having to take synthetic insulin- how do you know how much to take? And when to take it? And what happens if you take the wrong amount?

Because, as anyone who lives with it knows, there’s no obvious or predictable formula for getting dosing amounts correct.  And the way a low blood sugar or a high blood sugar makes one feels varies from person to person, and from day to day.

Here’s a small, seemingly unimportant example of what it’s like to have Type 1 that I experienced today. I can never be spontanious about eating something.  If I’m at an event, as I was earlier today, and they happen to be serving lunch, I can’t just pop food into my mouth on a whim.  If I had wanted to eat at this luncheon, I would have needed to know what exactly I would be eating, at least 30 minutes before eating it, so that I could take what I hope is the right amount of insulin to cover it.  But since I didn’t know in advance, and they put a plate in front of me, I just said, “Oh no thanks, I already ate a late brunch.” It was a lie.  And truth be told, I was getting a little hungry.  But if I don’t take my insulin pretty well in advance of eating, my blood sugar will soar, and I will be on the diabetes roller coaster of high to low blood sugar for a good part of my day.  And it will likely make me feel like crap.

So, I keep it simple.  I say, “No thanks” to unplanned food.  I eat my same (some would say boring) lunch most days because it’s just easier.

I also happen to be a picky eater by nature, so most people who know me (including my husband) just sort of roll their eyes at me, assuming it’s all about my pickiness when I say no to food.  But I don’t even know which came first, my extreme pickiness, or just keeping my diet simple to avoid… well, COMPLICATIONS.

I don’t bother to explain these things.  It’s easier just to tell a little white lie.  “No thanks, my stomach’s a little upset.”  Or, like today, “No thanks.  I ate a late breakfast and didn’t realize there would be food here!”

Type 1.  It’s complicated.