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Monday, December 31, 2012


Getting wild on New Years Eve with drinking.....regular soda.


Happy 2013 everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2012


Today reminds me that this world
Has evil, hate and scorn.
And at the same time shows me,
How heroes can be born.

I will look upon my friends today,
And family in my life.
And no one will forget today,
No matter how they try.

Today it does not matter
If my blood sugar was high.
For I look up and I thank God
Today I have my life.

May Peace And Love Find Newtown, Connecticut Tonight.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

World Diabetes Day

You knew this was coming.

For those of you who aren't very connected to the diabetic world, November 14th is World Diabetes Day.  It's the birthday of the guy who invented insulin or something like that, and all the diabetic communities put up long and sappy posts about the hardships dealt with and the friendships made, because without this guy and his invention, the world would be down a couple hundred million people.

And hey, if you can't beat 'em - join 'em.

It's been 10 years since I was diagnosed with this disease, and remembering what life was like before it can sometimes be very difficult or as clear as water.  I have certain memories in my head, and instead of thinking about the good times they hold, the only question that comes to mind is 'was I diagnosed then?'  I never want another child on this Earth to think that way.  I've had days where I've felt like a stronger person for dealing with this disease, and days where I've wanted to throw my insulin pump out the window and say screw it because I can't deal with it anymore.

However (yes, there is a however), I can't deny the good things diabetes has brought me.

I know, I know; what good things?  But you'd be surprised.

I'll be honest; diabetes has helped me find a voice.  I've been able to go in front of my community and educate them, and help them understand a large percent of this country.  I've been able to meet people, make friends, and be a part of a large community of caring and creative people (because come on; I've seen people turn lancets into adorable earrings; how many people know what a lancet even is?).  The friends I've made through diabetes will last a lifetime.

Yes, my eyes are closed.  No laughing
I don't think I'd be who I am today without diabetes, and for that I am truly grateful.  The laughs, the tears, the people, the lessons...they all mean something.  Back when I was little, and people asked me to name a superhero, I would've named some guy with a comic book and spandex.  Nowadays I can't even think of the word superhero without thinking of D-Boy, the diabetic superhero and his sidekick Ribbon (pictured above), or the amazing mother that has made them so strong (looking at you, Alexis!).

So for the friends, the doctors, the nurses, the awesome JDRF office workers at my local branch, the overly-kind teachers who have let me retake final exams, and my own family...thank you.  Thank you for having hope in my despite this disease, and thank you for giving me the strength to fight it.  I love you all more than I can begin to put into words.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Free Day (And Candy Corn)!

Before we get to the important things, I'd like to start out this post by saying everyone in my neighborhood had an obsession with cobwebs.  Seriously, about half the houses in my neighborhood have those things hung up on walls, bushes, you name it.  I feel like we missed the memo saying 'By the way, every October you MUST use cobwebs in your Halloween decoration.'

Seriously.  I mean...why?

Anyway; it's Halloween!  Candy and costumes and scary movies and staying out late with your friends.  It's a kid's favorite time of year and a diabetic parent's worst nightmare.  Because trust me, if my parents scolded me about eating too much candy before, boy did they get more uptight about it on my first Halloween as a diabetic.

Speaking of which, let's talk about my first Halloween as a diabetic!  I'd been diagnosed for about 3 months by the time Halloween rolled around, and by that time my parents were watching everything I put into my mouth with a magnifying glass.  So when October 31st rolled around and I went trick-or-treating at Alex Bice's big Halloween party (oh it was a big deal; every 3rd grader who was anybody was there *sarcasm*), they warned me extensively that I needed to bring my bag of candy to them when we all got back so they could help me count carbs for it and do a shot and everything.  So I did, and while everyone else got to munch away on anything and everything, I got stuck with (I remember to this day) a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, a fun sized Snickers, and a Laffy Taffy.

Now I'm not beating around the bush; I was freaking pissed.  It was Halloween for God's sake!  I wanted candy, blood sugar be damned.  And when it became obvious I wasn't getting any more, I went from pissed to sad.  Especially since Alex's party was a candy-trading hotspot, and I had nothing to trade for.  I was the saddest diabetic witch you'd ever seen (at least, I think I was a witch.  It might have been a genie).

Thankfully, I wasn't the only one to have this revelation.  My parents realized being denied candy on Halloween was cruel and unusual punishment, diabetic or not.  And thus, we established the concept of 'Free Days'.

I'm assuming most parents of diabetic children have something similar to it, but overall the concept is this; check your blood sugar, do a big fat dose of insulin, and go have fun.

That's what I've done every Halloween since then, and I've been a happy pirate, genie, or whatever I'm dressed up as.  Sure, there's the possibility I might go too high or too low, but who cares?  It's a holiday.  If you can't unwind for holidays, when can you unwind?

To be honest, I think these free days are completely necessary to a kid with diabetes.  We go through so much, every day, and are constantly worried about what we do, what our parents think, and what's going to happen.  It's nice every now and then to remember we're kids first, and diabetics second.  One day is not going to hurt us in the long run, and everyone needs a break.

So, just take a deep breath.  Have fun, eat a Twix, and don't worry about it.  That's the best advice I can give.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Letter To Diabetes

Dear diabetes,

I know we've had our ups and downs (and wayyy more ups than I'd like).  I know that you don't like me and I don't really like you.  I feel like I try so hard to make you feel happy, and sometimes I forget you're even there.  I like those times - we're always on good terms then.  But there are times when I'm tired of fighting you, and I don't take care of you, and you run chaos on my body.  Those days annoy the hell out of me, and all I want to do is kick you out of my house.  But of course I can't, because 1) You drained all of my energy so I can barely move from the couch, and 2) (sort of the more obvious one) you're inside of me, and tearing out my pancreas would be really painful and make me sort of...well, dead

But the thing is - we're sort of stuck with each other now.  I know you don't like it - and trust me I don't either.  But we need to start getting along, because if we don't start working this out, I can guarantee there will be fatal consequences.  And I don't think either of us want that.

I'm not saying this is solely your fault; there have been times where I just don't pay enough attention to you, and you have to mess with everything to make yourself known.  But then when I try to do what you want, you just don't listen to me.  My blood sugars will stay up and my ketones won't go away, and then I just end up getting my family and friends worried about me.  And that's the last thing I want.

I know you don't want to deal with me, but I really don't want to go to the hospital.  So...what do you say?  Truce?  At least until Friday, because I have a huge test and *insert teacher's name here* is going to be really annoyed if I have to come in tomorrow morning to do it.

The body you're currently inhabiting

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Flight-Jumper Effect (Or History's Shortest Camp)

I think that once you've had diabetes for a certain amount of time, you tend to become a bit lazy about it.  'Oh yeah, my blood sugar's a little high - that happens after *insert activity/food here*.  It'll be fine.'  We like to think we're in control of it, that we are the all knowing monitor of diabetes.  Unfortunately, that isn't always the case.

Note: *Extremely long and slightly scary story to come, D-Mamas.  But hopefully for the best.*

Recently, I was in New York for a summer camp of sorts.  It was my first time there, and naturally I was excited and terrified for my life at the same time.  I kept getting those jittery legs - you know, the ones that you get when your blood sugar's high but also when you're really stressed?  I kept checking my blood sugar - nothing out of the ordinary.

Jump to two days into the program.  I unluckily enough have food allergies on top of my diabetes (hooray for a suckish immune system), so the cafeteria food was not doing me much good.  I cut back on my eating a lot in a short amount of time, relying on the small grocery store a few blocks from the dorm I was in.  There wasn't much, but it was the only one I could reach in the boundaries the camp had set up for us.  Also being a first-time camper, I was suffering from that wonderful feeling known as 'homesickness'.  Stuff was going on in my family, and I was upset I wasn't there for it.  So add that nervousness on.

Getting back to my room that night, I was not feeling up to par.  I figured the cafeteria had poisoned me again (Cross-contamination, I was starting to think, because they insisted it was gluten-free but I kept ending up sick), and went to check my blood sugar.  134, I clearly remember.

Now, I've learned to rely on my body a lot when it comes to my blood sugar - I can usually tell when my blood sugar's low, when it's high, and when I have ketones.  You can get them in the low 200s, I've unfortunately discovered.  So I didn't care if it was 134 - something was not right.

My parents had splurged on a ketone meter for me that I could take to New York - you know, one of those 'just in case' things.  I grabbed that, knowing that despite my picture-perfect numbers, something wasn't right.

My ketone level was 1.3  

For those of you who don't use it, a 1.3 on the ketone meter is pretty much off-the-scale on the strips.  It's larger than large, one of the deepest purple colors you can find.  The stress I was under, combined with a sudden lack of carbohydrates and protein, was sending me right into DKA with squeaky clean blood sugars to match.

Let me just say that seeing that number was one of the most terrifying experiences in my life.  I was on my own, no parents (already homesick), and had no clue what to do.  It was like being transported back to the hospital room when you first hear you need shots every day for the rest of your life.  And there's a sort of fight or flight response when it comes to numbers like that.  I chose the flight response - literally.  The next day I was on a plane home.

Now let my say it was not solely my diabetes that made me leave (I don't want you going to your parents using this as an excuse for why you shouldn't spend the weekend at Grandma's), but I'd be lying if I said it didn't play a role.  Now I can go into a million 'what if' scenarios on this, but that will get me nowhere.  So based on my personal experience, I'm going to share what helped me with this (besides airplanes), and what I feel could've been extremely beneficial in my situation.

*Get rid of stress*

This was not a step I followed very well.  Wanting to be home so badly for various reasons, I'd managed to convince myself that the only way to relieve stress was to go home.  That probably wasn't my best option, but it was late and I was tired and it seemed brilliant at the time.  Either way, the main point stays - calm down.  Do yoga, meditate, watch your favorite TV show; just try and find a way to take a load off for a little while.  Stress is like adrenaline for ketones - it just makes them keep going.  You calm down, and they loose energy.

*That water there?  Chug it*

I followed this step much better.  If your blood sugar's in the normal range, you can't exactly take insulin.  That leaves your other favorite alternative (the one my school nurses are always recommending); water.  I downed two bottles in a half hour.  Some websites recommend eating something and taking insulin to cover for it, that way it can also get to work on the ketones.  I have no idea if this method works, since I didn't try it.  What I can say, however, is that water will be your new best friend for a while.

*Call a professional*

Most camps are lucky enough to have an RN or some type of medical professional on staff for an emergency.  I, however, got an Asian guy who was not completely fluent in English, kept his office locked at night, and slept in an entirely different building then the one I - and his locked office - were in.  So obviously, I didn't have professional medical help.  In a situation like this you may feel like you can pull the 'I know my diabetes' card, but that's going to look pretty lame in comparison to a trip to the hospital.  Call your doctor.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  If you're like me, and it's the middle of the night (isn't it always when bad things happen?), you may quickly find out how Google can also become part of that buddy group with the water bottle.

*Do not expect a sudden miracle*

I later found out that from the time I started my camp to the day I left (three days), I'd lost 6 pounds.  My ketones had obviously going for a while, and they had no plans of stopping.  Five days of building them up in your system does not equal five hours to get rid of them.  It took me two days before I flushed them out.  It's going to take time.  You will still feel crappy, yes, and I'm sorry.  But it's going to be a little bit before they're gone.

The normal blood sugar/high ketone scenario is a scary one - I'm not going to lie (especially in an unfamiliar place in the middle of the night with Dr. Useless for company - but I digress).  I honestly don't know if I handled it well or not.  But what I have to remember is that what happened happened, I did not end up in the hospital, and I have a better understanding of how to prevent it.  Having diabetes for a certain number of years does not suddenly put you in the clear of the emergency room.  Keep that in mind.

On the other hand though, all those perfect blood sugar's caused my A1C to lower a full point.  Maybe New York has some positives after all.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Education on Diabetic Stereotypes

Just before I was sent to the hospital and diagnosed with diabetes, I - like any seven-year-old who needed to read books for school - was starting to read The Baby-Sitter's Club.

Oh yeah, you have no idea where I'm going with this, right?

I love the Baby-Sitters Club novels, I do.  They were really fun to read and they're fun to look back on and laugh at because of how unrealistic they are.  But it's not just the scenarios they were in that were unrealistic.  But particular character; you probably don't even know who I'm talking about.  She was pretty minor.  But she had this disease...really no big deal.

Ok, ok, time to be (a bit more) serious.  For those of you without 90's roots, the BSC novels had a main character named Stacey,  who was the 'city girl' of the gang.  But, as we all know, Stacey was diabetic.  And - OMG, that's like the worst thing ever to be diagnosed with!  No sugar, no good food, having to take shots all day and survive off of chicken and bread!  How did you live!

When some of my classmates found out I had diabetes, a few of them assumed I was just like Stacey from the Baby-Sitters Club ( know; younger and not from NY).  I know they were just trying to be friendly about it, and I suppose I appreciate it on that level.  But on the other hand...ugh.

Thankfully, my teacher that year had a son who was diabetic, so she was able to straighten everybody in the class out.  While I was glad my third-grade nightmare was over, she warned me this would happen again.  And boy, was she right.

Half the time, I don't think people mean to ask such stereotypical questions; they honestly have no knowledge of the disease, and the media does little to show the difference between Type 1 and 2 diabetes.  And usually you don't mind answering these questions, especially if it saves another diabetic the trouble of answering them.  But going on to my 9th year of the disease, I will admit I'm getting less and less...descriptive when answering.  In fact, in my P.E. class this year, I was reminded just how annoying those questions were, as my conversations with a particular girl usually went like this;

Girl: Oh hey, what is that?
Me: Just my meter.  I'm diabetic.
Girl: Ooooh.  So what are you doing with it?
Me: ...Testing my blood sugar.  I'm pretty sure I'm low.
Girl: Is that good or bad?
Me: ...Bad.
Girl: Oh.  *pause* Can I watch you take your blood pressure?
Me: Blood sugar.  And sure...I guess *pricks finger*
Girl: Ahhhh!  I didn't know you were going to bleed!  Doesn't that hurt?

...Yeah.  Don't pretend that's never happened; you know they've asked!  And you've gotten annoyed!  So that leaves the question; what are you to do?

Firstly, like I said earlier, most of these people are not trying to be annoying.  They're genuinely curious what that cell-phone looking thing is and why that pen just made you bleed...they don't mean harm.  Now I know that doesn't make it less annoying, but I always try to remember it when people are asking me questions.  Usually I can get through it.

Now, this leads to another question, often asked by my peers and the occasional teacher; what are bad diabetic questions - because I don't want to make you upset.  Well...I don't think there are bad questions.  But there are dumbs ones I get tired of hearing.  And instead of listing them all out, I've turned to a more...reliable source; YouTube!

Remember a few months ago, when those "Sh*t *insert broad stereotype here* Say" were so popular?  Well don't think we got left out!  The following video is done by another diabetic, and contains every question that has ever made me want to punch a perfectly nice person in the face.  Not because they aren't nice, but because asking three or four of these in under a minute is really annoying.  Along with the 'Sh*t People Say to Diabetics' video, there is also another one, 'Sh*t Diabetics Say'.  And I'd be lying if I said I haven't uttered some of those phrases before.

Sh*t People Say to Diabetics:

Sh*t Diabetics Say: (Warning* - the video below contains mild swearing...but it's oh-so true.)

That about does it.  If there are any other stereotypical questions that have been left out, please feel free to vent to your fellow diabetics below.  Have a good week, everyone!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Five Myths, One Perk (And Mouse Ears)

What's this?  Screaming children?  Long lines?  Stupidly overpriced drinks? This can only mean you're in one place, and lucky for you it's the happiest place on Earth!

Abby, my best friend who came with me on this magical Disney adventure.  Note the $4 frozen lemonade she's holding.  Pure deliciousness, folks.

Yes, Disneyland!  The reason you joined band in middle school, the reason you can no longer listen to that song from OneRepublic, and the only reason your child is going to get up willingly before nine am on a weekday.

No, but joking aside, I really do love Disney.  It's an awesome place, and every time my family goes to California, the first words out of my brother and my mouth is, 'can we go to Disneyland while we're there?'  And though your parents complain and roll their eyes, you sneak a glance at them when you're on Space Mountain, and you know they're having fun, too.  I recently visited Disney with my mom, brother, and my friend Abby (my Dad hates lines and screaming kids, so he stayed home), and it was a blast.

Now, as the diabetics (and diabetic parents) we are, you know where this post is going.  Because we've all heard about it from a friend or doctor or neighbor or whoever you socialize with.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are talking about the legendary diabetic pass at Disney.

I'll be honest; it took my parents forever to convince me to get this.  I was diagnosed at age seven, and the first time I used this was last year, when I was fifteen.  I was nervous.  I thought the cast members would laugh at me.  I thought everyone in the lines was going to hate me.  So up until that point I stuck it out in the lines like everyone else, using those fancy apps that give you wait times and being just like everybody else.  The conversations usually went something like this;

Mom: So Reed, we're going to Disneyland tomorrow, and I just wanted to make sure - 
Me: No.
Mom: Reed it might be nice if - 
Me: No, Mom.
Mom: But - 
Me: I don't want the pass, Mom!  I'm fine.
George (my little brother): Just suck it up and get it!  I don't want to wait two hours for one ride!
Me: No!

...Yeah.  I drove my family nuts on those days.  And as we waited in the California heat, watching the people zip through the empty Fast-Pass line, my brother would look at me and say 'That could be us.'  And I never cared, because I thought it was fine; for one day, I was like everybody else.  And looking back on it now, that isn't true.  So today, I'm going to be sharing five myths about the 'diabetic pass' - be from me or my friends - and showing why they aren't true.

#1 - This thing is going to point out my diabetes to everyone, and I don't want it to

First off, this isn't a 'diabetic fast-pass'.  Not really.  This is, in fact, a Disney guest assistance card.  And if you have diabetes, this is what it will generally look like;

These are commonly given to people with special needs who may have problems if they wait in lines.  They are not going to put a big button on you listing all your medical conditions.  All you need to do is go to the Guest Relations (found in the Town Hall in Disneyland), explain to them that you/your child is diabetic, and the pass is needed in case of an emergency with their blood sugar.  They don't think it's a big deal, the rest of the staff doesn't question you on it (they will usually double-check how many people you bring on the ride, as there's only a certain number you can bring), so why should you worry?  No one is going to ask what's it's for.  They'll just wave you through.

#2 - This is a 'front-of-the-line' pass

A huge myth (and maybe the reason some people seem so bitter) is that this is the golden ticket of Disney.  Let me parade to the front of the line and ride as much as I want.  This pass does not do it.  As you can see above, the accommodation you'll get is the ability to use an alternate entrance.  This does not mean you go to the front of the line!

This version of the assistance card works more like a Fast-Pass, meaning that instead of the regular line, you'll wait in the Fast-Pass line or use the wheelchair entrance on the rides that don't do Fast-Pass.  There will still be a line.  You will wait to get on the ride like everybody else.  The only difference is that the line is shorter, and usually easier to get out of if you suddenly find yourself low.  And if you're low and have to leave, you aren't waiting another hour to try and ride.

#3 - People will be mad at me if they see me use this pass

This was one of my big worries about the pass.  But when I started using it, I came to the most interesting revelation; nobody really cares.

Seriously.  Nobody is going to look twice at the group in the Fast-Pass line.  Half the time, they all just assume it is a fast-pass.  On the rare occasion another person questions me, it's usually because they've got a medical condition themselves, and they want to know if they can get this.  Heck, even the Cast Members don't ask questions.  They just glance at it, make sure the number of people you're bringing in matches the number on the pass (or is less), and they wave you off and go back to gossiping about whatever it is Disney employees gossip about (did you hear Minnie was talking to Donald earlier today?  Do you think she'll break up with Mickey?)

#4 - This pass is no help to me

Actually, you'd be surprised how helpful this pass can be.  There was a time I corrected for a high blood sugar and went low in line (in the days before I used the pass).  And this was a two hour line.  My mother and I had to get out, go find a vendor, buy something, and work our way back through the line to find my Dad and brother.  That caused more of a commotion then it would have if I'd had the pass.

Usually in the Fast-Pass line, there are several Cast Members stationed throughout the line to make sure no one's sneaking in.  They will help you get out of that line, and even help get you something to get your blood sugar back up.  And when you're back up, they'll get you back in the line like nothing ever happened.  Going low at a place like Disney is very scary to think about.  And I honestly don't think about it that much anymore.

#5 - I just want to be like everybody else

I don't need special treatment.

I'm strong.

I have my blood sugar under control; this pass isn't for me.

I can handle it.

Yes.  Maybe you can handle it.  Maybe you do have it under control.  I'm sure you're plenty strong.  I'm sure the idea of special treatment doesn't excite you as much as your mooching little siblings who hate long lines.  That's not the point.

We try so much to be like everybody else every day.  We crave it; to throw away those meters and pumps and Flexpens and say 'I'm normal.'   But the thing is...we aren't.  We can't flip a switch and make this go away.  So what's wrong with, every now and then, giving yourself a break?  Saying 'I deserve this'?  Not worrying about diabetes, and just focusing on having a good time?  This is Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth, remember?  What's wrong with being happy?

Trust me, it may seem weird doing it at first, but you'd be surprised how quickly that feeling goes away when a two hour wait is cut down to ten minutes.

Disneyland for diabetes; filled with friends, family, mouse ears, memories, and shorter lines.  Sounds like fun to me.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Support Systems and You

...Yes, that is meant to sound like one of those self-help books.  (These are the jokes, people)

I've recently been talking to some other diabetic teens around the country, which I think is awesome (the more the merrier, right?), but I was really interested when one of them told me it was great to meet another diabetic kid.  Confused, I asked if there were any other diabetic kids around at school or in the neighborhood.  They said no.  And that got me thinking.

Maybe I'm a bit spoiled;

I'm part of a group called the JDRF Youth Ambassadors.  That's how I met amazing people like Alexis (the author of the amazing blog, Chronicles of D-Boy and Ribbon, but I'm wasting my time; you've all heard of her, right?).  We all help out around our community, and we're all best friends.  The picture above was from our last big thing, where we painting a picture to be sold at the JDRF 2012 Gala (yes, that picture there.  Are we talented or what?).  And maybe the coolest part?  Every kid in that picture up there is a diabetic.

Support is such a huge part of the diabetes experience.  It is virtually impossible to get the upper hand on this disease without support.  I compare it to it's easier to scare people with a big group behind you that looks equally pissed at whoever you're pissed at.  There's strength in numbers.  And this is one number in diabetes that can be as large as you want and it's still good.

Now most diabetics usually have a great support system in their families.  That's important too.  I've had so much support from my parents and aunts and uncles and cousins, I can't begin to thank them enough.  But yet, there's something about being at the same level as your peers, and being able to find new friends with your same interests who have to deal with the same disease you do.  Plus its kind of fun to have a group where you can all rant about those annoying teachers who just don't get diabetes.

I feel like I've made so many new friends in the Youth Ambassadors, and we have a great time at events (just so long as we keep the boys separated; they could tear a room apart in two minutes flat).  And if I've learned anything from them, it's that support from your peers as well as your family is so important.  Now I'm not going to tell you to go sign your kid up to the Youth Ambassador program, and tell you how happy they'll be when they do.  Everyone's different.  But based on my personal experience, it seems like the diabetic kids are the coolest around.

I feel like that's also a part of why I'm doing this blog.  I want to make it something that people can relate to.  I can sit here and type out all the random crap I can about diabetes like some 'professional' websites do, but I feel like that doesn't reach you as much as personal stories and experiences, especially from kids.  When you see those advertisements for the no finger blood sugar meters (which does not mean no blood; I'd love to see them include that in the ad), do you see any teenagers in there?  Any kid or young adult?  What about the 'instructional videos' talking about how diabetes is not the end of the world.  They don't show what a struggle this is.  They don't tell you there will be days where your blood sugar just won't come down no matter how much insulin you give.  That some nights you'll be up every hour checking blood sugars.  That things you used to eat every day will become special occasion foods.

This.  Is.  A.  Struggle.

And having people to talk to about it is important.  Keeping those emotions bottled up is not good.  Trust me, I know.  And when you meet people going trough the same thing, it becomes a little easier.

Before I sign off on this post, there's one more thing I wanted to share.  I recently got this book, No-Sugar Added Poetry.  It's filled with poems from different people all over the world with one thing in common; diabetes.  Some of them are dark, some of them make you think, but it speaks to you.  I think it's something all diabetics need to look at at least once.  If you're interested in the book, check it out here.

Support; the one diabetic number that keeps growing and won't hurt you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

That One Teacher (You Know Who I Mean)

My blood sugar has been hovering in the high 200s to low 300s range today, and nothing I do seems to be able to bring it down.  Add in my keytones and *boom!* I'm out of school for the day.  Now these things happen from time to time.  There are just those days when your blood sugar doesn't want to cooperate and you'd be better off at home rather than staring at the board all day, trying to pay attention but just letting your mind wonder.

Some of my teachers have yet to get this.

In elementary school, it's not as difficult.  But when you hit middle school, and every year after, you find them; it's inevitable.  Every year, there's that one teacher.  Maybe they start out nice, maybe they don't.  But one thing's for sure; when you start missing their class because you have problems with your blood sugar, you'd better believe there's some hell to pay.

I decide to write about this now as I'm currently dealing with this teacher.  He started out perfectly nice; pretty funny, laid back guy even.  And all was well until the beginning of the second semester, when my blood sugar started acting up on me.  And boy oh boy, did that attitude suddenly change.  The conversation I had went something like this;

Teacher: You missed my class twice last week, Reed.
Me: Yeah I know; I'm sorry.  I had some problems with my blood sugar, but it seems to be doing better now.
Teacher: Hmm...alright.  Well there's a test tomorrow, and I expect you take it.  Also, these homework assignments need to be made up by Friday or they're worth half credit.

...I'm sorry, what?

I find it extremely annoying when these teachers assume that when we're out of class for high blood sugar, we're just sitting in the nurses office lounging our day away.  I swear it seems like I have ADD when I'm high, because it's impossible to focus on one particular thing for an extended amount of time (Also I talk a lot).  We are not not having a fun time.  The way I describe a bad high blood sugar is that tingly feeling you get during a sugar rush.  The only difference is that it doesn't go away, and after a while that feeling starts getting really uncomfortable.

Another thing that I don't think he realizes is that when you're blood sugar finally levels out after being so high for so long, you are tired.  When the school sends you home, you aren't going to do homework.  You're going to take a nap and worry about it later, because it feels like you just ran a marathon.

I'm very thankful to be in a school with block classes, so that if something like this happens, I can always do my homework the next day.  Other kids aren't so lucky, and I've heard some interesting stories from some of my diabetic friends.  The important thing to remember is that if things aren't going well, you have a right to step back and take a breath.  Get a 504 plan to help you out if you're missing a lot of class (it's saved me on a few occasions).

I suppose my teacher and I are on better terms now, but he still doesn't like me missing lessons.  I heard from some friends he'll make jokes about me in class sometimes, saying that I need to lay off the sugar.  My response to that is this; here's a list of all the diabetic research organizations in the country.  Get out your phone, call them, and make a donation to help cure this.  Then I'll for sure stop missing your class, and every other teacher who's complaining about something they can't even begin to understand will lay off, too.

I'm still waiting for him to make that call, by the way.

Another thing these teachers don't seem to realize is that you need to watch those kinds of comments.  Because the only thing worse than getting a diabetic student mad at you, is getting a diabetic parent mad at you.  Take it from me; they will find you, they will not be happy, and you will regret any bad thought you ever had.  Am I right?

So to all those teachers who think their diabetic students are slackers, and that the parents need to tell them buck it up and just go to class...I would lock your windows from now on.  You know, just in case.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why Chocolate Bunnies Will Rule The World

So me being Greek, our Easter is one week later than American Easter.  My grandmother came over today for an early celebration and, as per the secret code of the grandmothers (I'm fairly certain it exists), brought my brother and I each a chocolate bunny to munch on.  Which, as all diabetic children know from the countless warnings from doctors and parents and school nurses, is not a good thing to eat all at once.  But it's pretty darn tempting.

I mean...look at that thing.  Sitting there all innocently on my counter when it clearly isn't.  I swear it's sending subliminal messages to my head!  'Eat me Reed.  Just one bite; it won't hurt.'

Ok, I'll admit it.  If you ask any diabetic under the age of 12 (and quite a few over) what the worst holiday of the year is, chances are it's probably Halloween, as the candy and amount of time with your friends is more plentiful.  But Easter is probably the second or third, depending on how many sweets are available for Thanksgiving.  And why is that, you may ask?  I direct you back to the picture of the bunny...just sitting there...mocking me.....

I was seven when I was diagnosed with diabetes, and I remember the first Easter after it was (to put it bluntly) a bitch.  While my little brother and cousins ate chocolate bunnies and eggs galore, I was restricted to one small bunny and a few Tootsie Rolls since my parents were still fairly new to the diabetic game, and were convinced I would eat myself into another coma, only this one slightly more chocolate and marshmallow filled.  Even my twelve year old cousin, who was also diabetic and had been for two years then, seemed to be allowed more sweets than I was.

These kinds of holidays are bittersweet for us diabetics, both new and old alike.  As for the new ones, chances are what I described in the last paragraph sort of mirrors what your Easter was like.  Let me assure you it does get better as you learn to handle your diabetes, and your parental unit will get better with you.  But be warned; they will not completely leave you alone on the subject.  In fact, as I sit here and type this and stare longingly at that caramel-filled rabbit, my mother nonchalantly suggested that I only eat half and save the rest for tomorrow.

Sigh.  Mother, one does not simply eat half of a chocolate bunny. (I also feel the need to point out that every time I've tried to spell 'chololate' in this blog, I've gotten it wrong and had to auto-correct it.  Maybe I can get it right by the end of this).

Anyway, I suppose what I mean to say is that easter is not the end of the world.  In all honesty, if you bolus/do an injection ahead of time, and your blood sugar's good, why shouldn't you get a little indulgence.  It's a special occasion after all.  But if you just down a few pieces of chocolate with no insulin (which I will admit I've been guilty of in the past), you're almost guaranteeing some trouble.  And trust me, the feeling of high blood sugar with only sweets in your stomach is not worth it, no matter how good you think it'll be.

On that note, I think that pretty much wraps up this entry.  So I'm off to help with dinner, chill out with my family, and hopefully not get stuck with dishes.  And I feel better knowing my mind is powerful enough to withstand the temptations brought on by a little molded piece of chocolate (hey; I spelt it right!)...with caramel...and peanuts.....and my blood sugar is 157...

Maybe just a bite...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Welcome to the Secret Life

So...I suppose I should start this out by stating the obvious; I'm not perfect (or pregnant.  This isn't ABC Family).

It's about 10 o'clock at night.  It's Friday, and more than likely a few of my hundered-something classmates are out partying, having some fun and doing whatever.  I'm sitting on my couch, listening to David Bowie.  Next to me, my brothers are watching WWE while yelling random phrases at the television ("You can tell the guy in green spandex is doing something wrong; the refs are yelling at him").  I suppose it seems pretty normal.  Almost.

I will admit, out of the last week, this is probably one of the lower sugars.  It's the first week back after spring back, after all; there are tons of tests (some of which I still need to make up because I was too high to take them at school), getting back in the swing of school and all that.  I've been in the three hundreds, and I hit 417 last night after my insulin pump had an error.  It's life I guess.

I'm going into my eighth year of being diabetic this July, and me being your average teenage girl, I like to think I've got this disease handled after having it for so long.  But the fact is, sometimes I feel like my sugars are the ones running the show; I'm just here for the ride.  In fact, I think every diabetic has felt like that at some point (and if you haven't, please, tell me how!).  We're in the middle of a balancing act, and the real trick isn't how much we can stack; it's that after so many bumps and twists, we haven't fallen yet.

I am not a doctor.  I'm not here to give you the miracle 'how-to' to make your blood sugars perfect.  I'm also not the go-to link for how to communicate with your own diabetic kids.  We're teenagers.  People have been looking for that manual for years; adding diabetes to the equation won't produce it.  I can't fly, shoot lasers, understand Shakespeare, or get my brothers to listen to me (though trust me, I've tried).

But what I can do, is to try and help.  I can (hopefully!) give you a place to turn to and go 'hey, that's happened to me too!  It does suck!'.  Or a place to meet other people with the same problems.  Because I think sometimes, us diabetic kids feel like no one in the world gets us; not our doctors, not our friends, and especially not our parents.

As for the parents, I really hope I can shine a different perspective on it for you.  You guys try so hard - trust us, we know! - and we do appreciate it, even if we don't show it every day.  I'm hoping this is a place where you will be able to read a post and go 'I remember when this happened with *insert kid's name here*...I never knew it felt like that.  I'll have to remember that'.

I'm not a manual.  But maybe I'll become the unofficial Sparknote version, full of helpful hints, advice, and stories that can make you laugh?

I hope so.