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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

You Hate, But We Cannot

I feel like diabetics aren’t allowed to hate others, yet those others can hate us.

Earlier today I saw a Facebook post from a good friend of mine talking about how her child was bullied today at school for being diabetic.  There was an outpouring of support from fellow D-Mama’s, and said poster even said her child took it in good spirits (as he should; I know the kid, and he is 100% awesome), but it still made me extremely upset.

First of all, what the hell?  I understand 12-year-old boys sometimes say and do dumb things (My brother was 12 once; I don’t recommend anyone live with a brother who is 12), but who in their right mind goes ‘you know who’s really weird?  That normal looking kid with the cell phone thing they use sometimes.  I mean talk about a freak show!’  Like, as diabetics I feel we don’t try to call attention to our disease very much, unless we’re a) advocating or b) explaining something to a teacher/peer.  I’m not saying there are easier targets to bully, because bullying is wrong and you shouldn’t do it kids here’s your lesson for the day on being a good person, but…why is this even a thing?

And the sad thing is this isn’t something limited to dumb tweens.  Because dumb tweens grow up, and sometimes they become dumb adults.  There have been so many instances of misinformation, judgment, and just plain rude behavior from high up newspaper writers (remember that lady a few months back who wrote CGMs were ‘unnecessary gadgets meant to just earn profits’ that made everyone so done with the media and JDRF had to release an official response that basically said ‘wow you’re stupid NYT?’) to TV execs who misrepresent T1D to my own 10th grade religion teacher who made rude jokes about me ‘eating too much sugar’ to his other class (Seriously, you taught religion).  I mean, this is a really common occurrence.  

And I know, I know, ‘love your enemies’ and kill them with kindness and whatnot, but let’s be honest; it is very hard to stop being angry.  I will be the first to admit I still hold a grudge against the teacher mentioned above.  The realization that 10-20 years down the line, one of my most prominent memories of high school will be my sophomore year where I almost transferred (ignore this rant) that guy, is terrifying.  And it makes me even angrier.  And that anger consumes us, and we try not to let it but it’s hard.  It’s hard because these people have been so insensitive towards us, caring so little for our feelings but expecting us to care about theirs in return.

So why are we ‘not allowed to hate’?

Well, it’s pretty obvious a good chunk of these guys aren’t going to take a kind ‘you should read up on this topic’ to heart and actually come back a few days later with apologies.  They only way they will ever know what we’re going through is if they experience it firsthand.  And that means they (or their spouses or their parents or their children) have to end up with T1D.  They have to sit up at 3AM with shaking hands as they pour a glass of orange juice, they have to feel that tingly nerve-jolting pain in their legs when their blood sugar gets over 400, and they have to have that emotional breakdown after countless hours of work have absolutely no impact on their A1C and scream ‘why did you do this to me’ at the sky while also wondering if anyone is even listening to them.

I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

I don’t care who you are.  I’ve seen this disease destroy families and break the strongest people I know.  No one deserves to go through what we have been though.  Friends or enemies, ignorant or well-educated.  When I begin to think that dreaded “I wish you had it for a day just to know…”, I do my best to stop myself.  Because, no, I really don’t wish.  I will never wish that on anyone.

But it’s still kind of funny.  You know they always say hate never really dies out.  Somewhere in the back of our minds that ‘I wish’ is a completed thought and we 100% mean it.  And all of us T1D’s have heard the statistics; 1 out of every 3 children born after the year 2000 will develop some form of diabetes.  For the final time in this blog post (and hopefully for a while afterwords) I think back to my 10th grade teacher.  I remember seeing pictures on his desk of his two adorable, blonde haired daughters.  And somewhere in his family there must be a niece or nephew or the child of a close cousin.  One day, one of those three people in his life will be able to personally relate to every instance I’ve just described above.  And that’s not on account of anger or even karma; it’s just a fact of the world.

Despite everything, I hope it won’t be one of them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Does T1D Need An Ice Bucket Challenge? (College Day 5)

First and foremost; college.  It's been okay so far.  I haven't fallen into a coma yet and my blood sugars are finally behaving down in the normal 100's (thank the heavens!).  Plus I have an adorable mini-fridge that stores all my insulin!

Isn't it adorable?
But anyway, while college is new and inventive and exciting, I'm here today to discuss something totally different and unrelated and freezing cold!  It's the Ice Bucket Challenge.

(For those of you out of the loop, a quick background; the Ice Bucket Challenge is where you dump a cold bucket of ice water on your head in support of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.  You then nominate three people to do the challenge in 24 hours, or they donate to the ALS Association)

Recently this has been spreading like wildfire - my roommate and I have seen 4 of them just this week.  And while many people have been thinking up which friends to nominate (before you even THINK about it no!) and what social media to post it to, I noticed another important question - does T1D need an ice bucket challenge?

Now, first and foremost, ALS is a terrible, terrible disease.  The motor neurons in the body slowly break down, and if you're a long term survivor chances are it's very difficult to move.  Plus there's no insulin-type miracle to keep you walking.  I would take my T1D over ALS any day.  ALS needs a cure just as badly as T1D does (if not more, in some opinions).  So the first thing to ask is this; has the Ice Bucket Challenge helped with donations?

Oh my gosh, yes.

The ALS Association has reported it's received around 23 million dollars from the challenge alone.  That's a smack ton of money; numbers that my local JDRF Nevada Chapter collected maybe in the span of it's whole existence.  That money could do tons of good to any non-profit, but to JDRF especially, considering they just announced incapsulation was going to move into clinical trials (possible blog post on just that to come!).  Giving 23 million dollars to a project like that could get us closer to no shots for tup to 2 years at a time; sign me up please!

Another factor to consider; part of the Ice Bucket success is largely due to celebrity endorsement; people like Bill Gates and even Charlie Sheen have completed the challenge and donated $10,000 to ALS.  Is that possible for T1D as well?

It certainly could be.  We have a fair share of celebrities dealing with T1D right now; Nick Jonas, Crystal Bowersox, Gary Hall, and Mary Mouser are just a few people to name.  Most have participated in JDRF events before, and would likely step up to a T1D challenge.  And based on the way the Ice Bucket has been spreading, it may not take much to get other big names involved, especially considering the contacts some celebrities have.

So awesome; we have proof this idea can work, and the possibility to spread it like wildfire!  Now we just need something to do!  Easy, right?

Not so right.

While no one's come out and said it, I believe another part of ALS's success has to do with the simplicity of the Ice Bucket challenge.  It's easy to set up, cold water is easy to get your hands on, and it doesn't leave any lasting damage.  It's also a very good imitation of what ALS is like on a human body; the cold shuts it down and makes it hard to move (though, as seen above, it does give us a great look at Tom Hiddleston's abs!).  Meanwhile, on the T1D spectrum, a challenge like that poses (pardon the double word usage) a challenge.  Something most commonly associated with T1D is needles, or testing blood sugar.  Things like that are hard to get your hands on without a diabetic friend, not to mention expensive (and as I type this I literally heard another bucket of water get dropped on screaming people!).

We could always challenge people to eat a bunch of sugary snacks, but that doesn't really represent what T1D feels like.  And actually giving anyone insulin to stimulate a short-term low is super dangerous and probably super illegal somehow.  So we need a plan; something that represents T1D as a culture but is easy to get your hands on.

Not to mention the other important factor; it needs to be done fast.

While the Ice Bucket challenge is certainly going strong, people from all corners of the inter-webs are already popping up with their complaints of annoying videos clogging social media sites.  Give it another two weeks and people will be moving onto the next fad.  Give it another two weeks and a different organization will have a similar challenge for a different disease - and one that isn't T1D.  'Copycat' signs will be thrown, participation won't happen, and the trend will die out.  It's already happening with the Ice Bucket challenge - many people who've tagged haven't completed the challenge or donated.  The next time something like the Ice Bucket challenge goes around, that number is likely to double.  

Perhaps my fears of trying to creating a T1D challenge (or support Ice Bucket) can best be summed up by fellow blogger and D-Momma Alexis; Ice alone can't cure any disease.

Does T1D need an Ice Bucket-style challenge?  Heck yes.  How do we do it?  Well...hopefully we'll be figuring that out soon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

T-Minus 2 Days (Everything Hits the Ceiling, DO NOT PANIC)

The last few days have been a roller coaster to say the least.  My last week before leaving for school started with an ear, sinus, and throat infection.  Joy.  At least it explained my highs - almost 400's with no signs of coming down.  It's been annoying to say the least.

Sometimes when a person's blood sugar is high for a really long time without ever coming down, when they do come down it feels like they're low. And then their blood sugar rises back to the 200-300 range, and they feel 'normal.'  I'm getting this distinct fear that's going to happen to me the way my blood sugar's are acting.

I not so proudly present today's blood sugars.  The two most recent say HIGH, which for non Omni-Pod users means over 500 somewhere.  After the first time it said that (9:40PM), I injected 6 units.  Now, about an hour later, there's still no change.  Or their might be, and I just can't see it.  I'm putting my Dexcom sensor back on tomorrow, but until then I'm correcting blind.  Which, FYI; super dangerous and super not-very-adult-ish.  I'm not doing so well at the adult thing.

Side Note #1: Blogging while over 500 is hard because it's super easy to get distracted.

Now insane highs are nothing new for diabetics.  But sadly, I am about to lose the person down the hall who constantly checks up on me.  That's a really scary concept, especially if you haven't been on your own dealing with blood sugar before.  What do you do when you're high like that?  What if you're low?  As these questions come into my head, I thought I'd share some tips and such for what I'm bringing and what I'm planning to do in case of a situation like this at school.

#1. Hey Thanks Cellie
Cell phones are a beautiful thing.  Calling, internet, Facebook, blogging (wink wink)...but maybe the greatest innovation is the glorious text.  Though my Mom isn't down the hall anymore, she is just a screen tap away.  And being a light sleeper, a buzz from her phone will wake her up pronto.  I know she'll text me back, give me advice on what to do, and stay up with me until I come back down.  Love you mom!

Side Note #2: I just tested again and I'm still not coming down.  There are two empty water bottles by me time to break out the third. 

#2. Wait There's The Other Direction
So high blood sugar is one thing.  But what about lows?  Those are much harder to treat, and much scarier at night alone.  What to do?

Two words.  Pixie.  Sticks.

See, after my graduation party, I ended up with a ton of leftover pixie sticks from my candy bar.  Like 'there is a giant ziploc bag of 200' leftover.  I can't find any pictures but trust me they're there.  Naturally instead of throwing them away, I've been using them for middle of the night lows not dangerous enough to demand juice.  Put a couple dozen into a pretty jar, and it's an instant decorative/useful piece.

#3. Keep Occupied
There is a 90% chance that in the middle of the night you don't want to stay up to keep testing.  Falling back asleep is really easy for me, which is good for getting enough rest for class but bad because I need to re-check.  While there won't be any immediate consequences if I stay in the high 300's for six hours, if it keeps happening I'll cause long-term damage.  So if you're like me, find a way to keep yourself occupied while waiting for blood sugar to come down.  YouTube videos and mindless games seem to work well.

Side Note #3: Checked again and BG is 406!  Never thought I'd be happy to see that number.  But now I'm worried I may have overcorrected...

I think now would be a good time to sleep - I have to be up in 5 hours anyway to drive to California.  If you'd be so kind, leave your high/low advice in a comment!  Also, I apologize profusely for any spelling/grammar mistakes I've made.  Take it as a lesson in what blogging while high will do to you!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Epic Return! (Kinda)

Huh?  What's this?  A new blog?  New diabetes information, stories, and ways to connect?  Awesome!  But who is this mysterious new blogger coming on to the scene?  Do I know her?  Why is she familiar?

Welcome new friends and old followers alike to an all new experiment; T1D Blogs; college edition!  I'm your host, Reed!  Some of you may remember me from the old blog I operated under, the Secret Life of the Diabetic Teenager.  I decided to switch up the blog since, 1) After Children's Congress I spent more time senior year on school than blogging, and (probably the more significant) 2) I'm not a teenager anymore!  Turning 18 in May, I have graduated from teenage-dom and moved into the exciting world of young adult!  As such, I am now a mature young adult who does responsible things!

Nah, just kidding.  I'm still a giant dork.

Nevertheless, I am starting college this Friday, and diabetes in college (I've been told) is hard.  You're on your own; no 504, no parents, no one telling you 'cotton candy at 2AM is a bad idea (where you would even find cotton candy at 2AM is another story).'  It's a time to sink or swim, and my personal goal is to swim.  It won't be easy, but I'm hoping this blog will be a good place to jot my thoughts down, share fears, and connect with fellow T1D's!  Whether they're just starting college, have a few years to go, or just read these things for fun (looking at you, D-Mamas!).

You can share this to your hearts content, let your friends know, or stay up to date by subscribing to the blog or entering your email above if you don't have a blogger account.  So let's go; freshman year, diabetic secrets, finding out what works and what doesn't, and making new friends along the way!  Full out blog posts (not just an introduction one) start tomorrow!

Join me, shall you?