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Choosing Neither Approach
Do we sometimes get the impression that we have to choose between one of two options? Seldom is this truly the case in my experience. When it comes to diabetes management there are more likely going to be a plethora of potential factors. Type 1 diabetes is simply one slice of the totality of the persons that each one of us envelop. The majority of the time for instance no one around me has a clue that I have a busted pancreas & am process engineering my way 24-7 to stay alive. (with help…a lot of help compliments of technology and old fashioned people support and more). When it comes to dealing with diabetes and the other aspects of being a human being, I choose moment by moment to neither be a martyr nor a whiner. What does that mean? My take on this is to not pretend to be having a golden day when my sensor is screaming a 15 (Canadian measures) or 3.5 or dealing with a defective sensor, insulin problem or literally a hundred other variables that affect hour by hour diabetes life. It means that when someone who means well says for the zillionth time, “your pump cured your type 1 diabetes” or your “pump does everything for you” I don’t nod my head in a people pleasing fashion even though I am rather preprogrammed to be off the charts agreeable. Thankfully, none of us are 1 dimensional so another side of me is off the charts intuitive and feisty in the face of b.s. For sure being a diabetes martyr does not have any pros that work for me in a positive way. How about spiraling down to the pit of becoming a whiner then? Hell no! I do not know of anyone who enjoys listening to someone’s constant complaining & woe is me spiel that begins to sound like a broken record. So what does that leave? “Plenty” would be my response since we are complex 3 dimensional, creative & interesting creatures. We get to thoughtfully choose a non-faker response. Admittedly, my most natural response tends towards humour. When my pump or sensor alarms go off and startle people around me, sometimes I will say, “pardon my broken pancreas” or “dramatic pancreas” or “listen to my fancy pancreas, all the cool kids have one” or something like that.
It has been a while since I have shared a story. Let’s talk diabetes update stuff first and then move into the miscellaneous musings afterwards.
If you live with type 1 or love someone who lives with type 1, you will be profoundly aware that there are those hurricane type days as well as the days that you feel so well that you champion your inner energizer bunny & live those “super well” days to the absolute maximum. (Yes, I know this is a major run on sentence). Personally, I like to end a story with a happy ending. Starting with the frustrations about the happenings with type 1 include noisy alarms going off so much at night, some failed sensors, the dizzy thing back, Canadian postal code, and silly me moments with new infusions & new “bladders”. Hormones have been mixing things up big time meaning that some nights I need nearly no basal and other nights, I need a considerable amount of basal and things change out without any logic. That has resulted in so much lost sleep due to some nights getting over a dozen low blood sugar alarms. It is a girl thing in this case that I am told will eventually level out. A definition of time as it relates to the word “eventually” would be helpful. I remain grateful however for the noisy alarms as of course it beats the alternative. My plan is to switch to Dexcom 6 sensors hopefully if we receive them in Canada near the end of 2019 as long as we also receive the new insulin pump download with the IQ predictor that would likely make sleeping so much more doable. We have neither of these tools in Canada currently so meanwhile I have the hit and miss sensors these days which are fantastic when they are accurate and working properly & a bloody nuisance when they are failing. Statistically, I am shocked at the failure rate of my current sensors however they are better than nothing. Additionally, I refuse to behave like an entitled diva since I remind myself often that there are people around the world that do not have access to affordable insulin let alone any type of sensor and an insulin pump. I count myself fortunate. I am really looking forward to the future of switching to Dex & the predictive feature of my new pump that will allow for sleep, sleep, sleep…yay yay yay!
My new insulin pump arrived! Every person is a beautiful original & will make his or her own choice when it comes to determining which insulin pump will work best. After investigating the 3 choices we have available in Canada, I chose the Tandem. I absolutely love it! I love choices and this pump provides this in spades in my opinion. I love the option of either using the bolus entered in doing math in my head or using the bolus calculator. Lately, I have been using the bolus calculator as it has been working so well with getting the correction nicely in the ballpark. I can sure tell that people with diabetes were consulted as the features are so user friendly & I could go on & on. It has only been 2 ½ weeks yet I am loving my Tandem. A lot of people have mentioned disliking the clip that comes attached to the pump case however so far I have found it ok. Some folks in type 1 groups that I belong to have recommended a case by a U.S. company called “Type 1 Tactical.” I tried ordering however their website does not support Canadian postal codes/our provinces/addresses currently. In contacting the company they suggested that I wait and try again as they are attempting to solve this problem with their website. I am hopeful that my clip won’t break in the meanwhile however the pump is so compact that I know I could tuck it into my pockets anyhow. (pockets are a best friend!) There are some cool diabetes wear that you can order with pockets. I have a tank top that is especially useful when I want to tuck my pump away. (Feel free to email me if you want the name of any diabetes clothing and gadget retailers that I have ordered from). Also, it is fun to dress up our gadgets (pumps & sensors, etc) with cool stickers too. I ordered a custom sticker for my Tandem pump that I did up with tea cups and saucers. That was from a website called “Pumppeelz.” They are fantastic to deal with. The site that I love for sensor stickers is a Canadian company called “Pimpmydiabetes.” Their products are awesome & the shipping is speedy. Last Spring I ordered a backpack purse (my favourite purse style) from “Myabetic.” It is a cool configuration with nooks and crannies designed for our diabetes “shit”. (meters, extra insulin, cartridges, infusions, snacks & even a pocket for used test strips). It is the bee’s knees.
While my new insulin pump has been intuitive to use, my learning curve for the new infusion sets and insulin cartridges has been almost a belly laugh. The first week with the new infusion sets I was averaging messing up every other infusion set. Lately I have become better with them. My husband told me I would look back & laugh at this once I become badass at the new infusions. I kind of break out currently in a cool sweat every 3 days at 4 pm when I change out my infusion sets hoping not to mess one up. My training nurse for the new pump told me with a laugh that the insulin cartridge for this pump is called a “bladder.” So filling the bladder is a work in progress for me as well. Although I am not messing up the process, I may as well be a sloth as the changing out process is currently taking me 57 minutes. One day I will laugh about that as well.
A brief movie reference will complete type 1 updates for this month. Last month I went enthusiastically to see the movie, “Tolkien.” IMHO, this film is absolutely a hit out of the park. Okay, Saundie, what the heck does the movie have to do with type 1 diabetes exactly? It turns out that you would not know the answer to that question unfortunately from watching the movie. Spoiler alert (if you have not seen the movie & still plan on watching it), Tolkien’s mom dies at the age of 34. They provide no explanation for her death in the movie. The answer is that she had type 1 diabetes & unfortunately it was before insulin was created. That still brings a lump to my throat to think of this “death sentence” & I remain eternally grateful to Canadians Banting & Best!
Reading is a passion of mine. I have lost track of the books that I enjoyed during April & May. January & February was dedicated reading to type 1 books. I ended up reading 5-6 type 1 books over the winter. June has been a turn in a whole different direction. I have been reading “The Gulag Archipelago” this month & am on track to finish it this weekend. What a difference it would make if it were required reading for high school history in my opinion. I could not do it justice by describing it. It encompasses so much both from a history perspective yet also from a psychology, sociology & human nature standpoint. It is not an easy read & nor ought it be. Ironically this week in a segue I discovered the 5 part series on “Chernobyl” which is also not easy to watch yet it is outstanding in a myriad of ways. I realized this month that at best I had perhaps not even a 1 percent education on Russia’s history. It just was not taught in school at my high school. It turns out it is really still not being taught for the most part. That is inexcusable to my way of thinking. Life is not all balloons and banners & learning about the vast history in all its malevolent human failings teaches us today to never repeat these horrors towards one another. Perhaps it teaches us as well potentially to check our “entitlement.” The internet going down in our home briefly or even for the entire day is truly not the hardship that the panic on so many young faces would allude to for example!
Last month I mentioned that there is a cool quiz that is available online that I chose to take. It is on a website called, “ understandmyself.com”. Essentially it provides an overview of personal personality traits and then it can be a choice in determining what to do with the information. I was unsurprised by my own results for the most part. The thing that was especially useful & revealing to me were the attached stats. It was the percentage value attached to each trait that I find helpful to do something with. (By the way, none of the websites that I have mentioned have provided any incentive whatsoever to me to promote them & that is exactly the way I like it…pure enthusiasm for promoting only). I will share a couple of categories of my results with you. Both my agreeableness and politeness are off the charts (high 90 percentile). It was of great value to me as I now realize that countless times I have expected other people to be as polite & agreeable or I have become a doormat around dominant, aggressive individuals & wondered what the hell happened. The knowledge with the percentiles assists me in choosing to be less surprised with interchanges & also reminds me that my perspective is just that & not shared to that level at times. It reminds me to not expect others to see things as I see them. It reminds me that I have a long way to go in becoming more assertive. Life is a work in progress however & having information to use in a meaningful way has been significant to this process.
Do you like to save your favourites until last? I do! In April, my youngest son & I finally went to our first Habs game! We are both huge Montreal Canadiens’ fans. We took the Via train for the first time. That was part of the adventure. The trip there was seamless. The trip back resulted in our train arriving 4 hours late as our train had to tow another Via train back to Toronto when it had been hit by a deer. My son & I had an absolute blast the whole time we were away. We toured the Bell Centre and only did hockey related things the whole 48 hours. It is a treasured memory. Oh and the piece de resistance was that Montreal won in overtime and a shoot out!! It is proof positive that I remain a huge fan of the Habs as I am still talking about what a fabulous turn around season they had last year. For sure most Canadians have moved on (long ago) & all the talk is about “We the North.” Hockey remains in the forefront of my mind through it all ha ha! (Yes, it is very cool for Canada as well that the Raps won!)
Have an outstanding summer & my heart’s hope is that you especially celebrate the cooperative type 1 days big time…like an energizer bunny or a beach bunny or any kind of bunny ha ha!
The next story sharing will be in October.