Friday, October 23, 2009

Do You Have What It Takes? My Dr Thinks I Do, Woo Hoo!

So, while I don't know exactly what the insurance companies think is "enough" to qualify for a CGMS, I've been told I've got it. While my endo is not my insurance company, it's a good sign! Glad to see my lows are getting me something. There's some saying about there's always some good to be seen in every bad/negative situation...right?

My 2 hour endo appointment yesterday brought more than the CGMS news, it also included:

- A 1 hour wait for my doctor b/c the patient before me couldn't figure out how to adjust his insulin shots to CST from PST. Thankfully, they got it all figured out. The other reason was that her husband was late, her nanny didn't know where to go and her sister was her kids couldn't get to where they needed to be, so she was dealing with family drama. I felt bad, that had to be incredibly frustrating for her...I'm just happy I brought a book!

- New medication!!!! Who wouldn't be excited about that, right? Yep, I'm 23 and taking cholesterol medication. So, now, not only do the majority of the diabetes commercials with senior citizens not represent me, the cholesterol med commercials don't either. It's not a big deal, and sort of just makes me feel old.

- More medication!!! Even MORE exciting than a new medication! I'm "weaning" myself onto Neurontin. Last night I moved up from 300mg to 600mg. Within an hour of taking it I felt drunk, drowsy and incredibly out of it. The nice thing about it was I slept like a rock. Neurontin is a pretty standard treatment for diabetic neuropathy, from what I understand, but reading about it's other uses is pretty funny. Wikipedia lays it out also helps alcoholics, meth and coke addicts break their addictions and prevents seizures. Perhaps this means I'm being protected from a drug and alcohol addiction and ever having a seizure? Yes? Maybe?

- Some changes in my basal rates and a discussion about needing to change my schedule. Hopefully the slight changes will help until my schedule gets worked out. :)

- An approval (not that I needed one, but it was nice to know her thoughts) on trying to get into a nursing program. She thinks it's a great if only I could get my family to approve the idea...

- A 2 hour drive home. Bay Area traffic sucks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Diabetes As A Disability?

I am a very stubborn person and hate being told I "can't". If you tell me I "can't" do something, unless I understand the rationale behind it, 9 times out of 10 I'll do it, or nearly kill myself trying. This mindset has allowed me to overcome adversity. But, I realize it can be unwise to follow this mantra at all times. As a diabetic I don't feel I'm any less capable than the rest of the world, but I realize I do have more things to keep in mind.

My school has three schedules to choose from: 8:30a-12:30p Tues-Sat, 1:00p-5:00p Tues-Sat or 5:30p-9:30p Mon-Fri. Each schedule is on its own curriculum. My work schedule is: Sun 11p-Mon 6a, Mon 11p-Tues 6a, Wed 6p-11p, Fri 6p-11p and Sat 7p-11p. While there are very few time crossovers, I also need sleep. I'm not saying I need 9-11 hrs sleep every night...or any night for that matter. But, my sleep schedule is non-existent right now, which takes a toll on my sugars. The basal rates on my pump are based on time and my activity at those times. My erratic schedule also means I depend on energy supplements and caffeine regularly...which also messes with my levels. Sometimes I'm at work at 3:45a and won't go to bed until 4p and some days I'm out like a rock at 3:45a and up at 6:15a. (I only use 3:45a because that's the current time...and I'm currently at work)

I don't want to say I'm disabled or allow diabetes to restrict what I do or don't do. But, at the same time I feel it is important to be aware of my health. My program is supposed to be 7/14/09-2/11/10, so not incredibly long. My first two months I didn't sleep much, though I wasn't working overnights-by mid-September it caught up with me and I was in bed for a week. Overnights give me longer hours, so I need to work them when they're available to me. I quit my second job the first part of October, in hopes of improving...thus far they are doing the opposite.

Last week the school's administrators asked to meet eith me. In our meeting they asked me to consider dropping out and re-entering when it would take less of a toll on my health.

The big question is: Is dropping out and putting the program on hold allowing diabetes to limit me or is it being health-conscious and wise?

How much do you allow diabetes to be a factor?

If I get a doctor's not I can take a leave of absence without losing my place in the program. But again, am I allowing myself to be disabled? Or is diabetes becoming a "crutch" to quit?

Would dropping/postponing be a wise decision or an excuse to get out of a challenge?

On one hand I just want to ignore my missed/off medication times, lack of sleep, stress, nerve pain (which only seems to be getting worse with less sleep and more stress) and screwy sugars. On the other hand I'm 23, I don't want my stubborness to compromise my future health.

It feels like a constant inner battle. School is just my main one right now, but diabetes as a disability is a tough topic.

How much contol does diabetes get to have?

Monday, October 19, 2009


While I've heard of the imperfections with the CGMS's, I still would LOVE to have one! My pump isn't perfect either, but I wouldn't dream of giving it up.

In December I'm eligible for a new pump. I'd also like to get a CGMS. BUT, from what I've been told, my insurance company will be looking for numerous readings in the 50s prior to approving coverage for a CGMS. I have a number of problems with this...

#1: The insurance companies will not approve a device that's proven to be a helpful tool for diabetics, unless they have enough complications. What constitutes "enough"? How much danger do I need to be in to warrant a useful tool?

#2: This encourages diabetics to put themselves at risk of having, a widely-known danger, lows. Let me tell you, as soon as the pump representative "unofficially" told me what the insurance company would be looking for, I adjusted my pump settings. Twice last weej I was stuck on a train with no food or juice (it's not allowed-though I frequently bring some anyway) with my sugars in the 40s.

#3: The insurance companies don't even cover a great deal of the pump or CGMS supplies. Even when I had "100% Rx coverage" it only covered about 30% of my pump supply order! I realize these products are expensive - but they're life-changing!

#4: If insurance companies are allowed to do this to diabetics - 1 - how much further will they be allowed to push us? 2 - what do they do to people with other medical issues?

#5: By not approving a proven aid in the management of an incredibly complicated disease, the insurance companies are PUNISHING those who have decent control of their sugars! If they were approving all diabetics with imperfect sugars, they'd be approving every single diabetic.

#6: The CGMS alerts for high sugars too! Why in the world aren't people with high A1c levels & multiple high readings allowed access?!?! It can help them too!

#7: Most insurance companies had even more restrictive regulations on CGMS approval just a year ago and only eased up when thousands of diabetics started and signed petitions. Why is it they will only change their policies when they're threatened with the idea of their injustice being publicized? It's infuriating!

I did absolutely nothing to get diabetes - I do not deserve to be punished for having it, nor do you!

Here's to hoping Christmas will not only bring a shiny new pump - but a CGMS too!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Everyone's Got Their Own Take

It's hard, it can be scary, it's exhausting, it's anything but normal, it requires a lot of work, responsibility and dedication. Not only all that, but diabetes also requires you to be a constant student...learning all the time.

I would not wish diabetes on ANYONE. But, it most certainly brought about positive changes in my life. It's connected me with so many people I never would have had the opportunity to meetotherwise.

To me, the hardest part about living with never get a vacation, EVER.

The disease is not me, I will not be considered "diseased," it's not my's part of my life, I'm just like everyone else (unique and dealing with unique struggles) and while I may not have the health you have, I'm determined to make up what I'm lacking in health with spirit. Sometimes I lose focus with this idea, but always somehow find my way back.

As with any challenge in life, it's important to have a "take." When a football team takes the field to play, they have a plan. People with "chronic illnesses" need a plan too. Are you going to let the disease consume you, take over your life and drain the you who once was? Or are you going to stand up to the disease and fight it, make life changes for yourself and adapt to a new lifestyle and new perspective. Let me tell you, it can be hard not to crawl up into a ball and hide under the covers some days...and that's okay when it happens, just don't get stuck. If you watch Grey's Anatomy at all Meredith and Christina occasionally get the "dark and twisties"...if it's okay for them, it's okay for me. ...That's what I like to tell my self at least.

For a long time I had a blog, but it wasn't focused on diabetes alone. I still intend on keeping the other blog going, once some things clear up, but I'd like to have a focused one too. While I don't let diabetes dictate my life (most days), I'd be lying if I tried to say diabetes was not a HUGE part of my life. As a Type 1 pumper I've got a device attached 24/7, if the device weren't enough of a reminder, I count the carbs in every food that passes my face, see the scars on my fingers, look in my purse and see my glucometer, insulin & emergency pump supplies. Diabetes is everpresent. Like the younger, annoying step-sibling you never asked for, but still came. I am grateful for some of the changes that I've made since being diagnosed, in a lot of ways diabetes has been a blessing...but a lot of things would be easier without it.

Anyway, this is me shooting for 100...right now I'm 193, definitely not on target, but I did eat not too long ago.