Category Archives: Complications

A Good Cry.

Wow.  When you haven’t cried in a while and something sets you off, it’s kind of hard to stop.

That was pretty much my night last night.  The reason I was crying was because I was relieved.  But I was also very angry.

I was having discomfort in my chest.  It started when I woke up in the morning but subsided pretty quickly.  Then later in the day, it came back but was pretty bothersome.  It was high in my chest, beginning toward my shoulder but then more toward the center of my chest, by my sternum.  It hurt more when I moved which lead me to believe it was muscular or something like that.  However I couldn’t help but wonder if it was something more serious.  Like heart related.  The only history I have of any heart related issues is high blood pressure.  It’s only been borderline high, not excessively high, and I’ve been on medication for a number of years.  I’ve also had normal EKGs for years.  However I have never had a full heart “check up” before.  I’ve put on some weight over the years and am not exactly in the best physical shape ever.  Most importantly, I’ve had diabetes for going on 31 years.  That is a long time of high and low blood sugars.  This is what scares me the most.  And that is why I was angry.

It was because I have diabetes that lead me to going to the urgent care near me and getting checked out.  I wanted to be safe than sorry and I think Joe felt the same.  (He is the one who persuaded me to go) But had I not been a diabetic, I would’ve brushed the discomfort off and waited to see how I felt in the morning.  Last night I hated diabetes for what it can do to your body.  I hated it for making me worry more than the next person.  I hated it for reminding me what my father went through.  I hated its very existence.

Thankfully the EKG came back normal.  The doctor seemed to think it was something called Costochondritis, which if you’ve never heard of it like me, it is inflammation of the junctions where the upper ribs join with the cartilage that holds them to the breastbone or sternum.  Yup some more inflammation.  He prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and did recommend I see a cardiologist at some point.  I will discuss this when I see my endo next week.

I don’t get out of sorts about diabetes often.  But last night I did.  And it felt so good to cry it out.

Sick or Not.

I haven’t been feeling well for going on two weeks. Not exactly sick but not well. When you have diabetes, any little ailment or ill feeling causes more questions and concerns than normal. And I hate that. Things like the sniffles or a little dizziness or some fatigue can be brushed off by a person without diabetes if they choose. But when you have to worry about your BG as well as the feeling you are experiencing, it’s a whole different ball game. Your mind begins to wander about the cause of your suffering. Could I be starting with another auto immune condition? Could it be complications? Is it diabetes related at all? To determine if your high BG is being caused by not feeling well or if not feeling well is being caused by your high BG is next to impossible. Not to mention making sure ketones aren’t part of the scenario. It can all be a bit overwhelming.

As for what has been ailing me, I’m hoping to find out. I’ve already had a couple of things ruled out and have a few appointments scheduled in the coming week. I have a feeling most of my symptoms could very well be allergy related believe it or not. And if that’s all it is, I can deal with that. I really just want to feel back to normal already. Especially to get back to working out. (did I really just write that??) But I take not feeling well very seriously. Maybe too seriously?  And I can’t help but place the blame for that on diabetes.

Holiday Joy of a Different Kind.

I think one of the hardest things about living with diabetes is knowing the complications that can happen from high blood sugar over time. Knowing that you can start having problems with your eyes, limbs, kidneys, heart, digestion, etc. is scary as hell. We do everything we can to control our blood glucose levels in order to prevent these things from happening. But for someone like myself, having high blood sugars over the course of 29.99 years (8 days shy of my 30th diabetes anniversary), I’d say is time enough to possibly cause damage.

I have started to see some of this damage develop in my body. I have started treatment for retinopathy and mild gastroparesis. I also had a slightly abnormal autonomic nervous system test result recently. But today I received the greatest news. I had a NCV test done a few days ago to confirm what seemed to be some loss of feeling in my feet at an endo appointment.  And after persistent calls to my endo’s office (thanks Dr. K for putting up with my anxiousness!), she called me back with the results. No signs whatsoever of nerve damage in my lower extremities. This is the best Christmas and d-versary present I could ever have asked for! I know this doesn’t mean I’m in the clear for good. But this is a huge blessing. One that I am extremely thankful for at this point in my life. This may have been the lift to my spirit that I’ve been needing. This is motivation for me to keep my BG in check.  It also shows that complications are not inevitable. Even after 29.99 years.

I hope you all have a great weekend. I know mine is off to a great start 🙂

Bummer Appointment.

Yesterday afternoon I had an appointment with my endo. On the train on my way home (my endo is in my home neighborhood, not near my job) I found myself wondering why I wasn’t feeling my usual nerves.  It was then that I began to feel like I didn’t care. Like I wasn’t concerned with how my appointment was going to go. I can’t pinpoint what brought those feelings on but I was still pretty calm when I got to the doctor’s office. 

Overall my a1c went up a bit, my weight went up a bit and my BP was up a bit. I also had an ANSAR test done. If you’ve never heard of that before, it’s a test that determines anything wrong with the autonomic nervous system.  Dr. K is concerned that since I started with retinopathy, the chances of other complications may be likely. All of these new-to-me tests are scary. They are part of the reality I have always been afraid of.  But I know they are for the best. If I want to stay healthy, I have to be proactive and diligent about my body.  It was not the best appointment of all time.   But Dr. K thinks my “control” is decent and knows that I’m doing a lot to manage my diabetes.  I appreciate her outlook and her recognition of my hard work.  There is more fine tuning that I need to do which will happen with the help of my CDE.  And also with my own efforts of keeping up with exercise.  I feel like now more than ever, my BG control matters.  I’ll be soon commemorating 30 years living with diabetes.  And that’s a long time.  But to quote Dr. K, “you still have a long life ahead of you”.  And I want to make sure that life ahead of me is stable.  

So for the record, in looking over my meter downloads, I realized something. I do care. I care enough to check my BG 17-19 times in one day.


Happy Friday everyone! I feel like I’m a little behind in providing an update on my retinopathy situation but here it goes.

Last week I had done what is called an intravitreal injection of a medication called Lucentis. From what I understand, the medicine works to stop the growth of the blood vessels in the eye which in turn stops those vessels from leaking. I was pretty anxious at just the thought of having the doctor administer a needle in my eye. I mean it sounds kind of scary doesn’t it? But I survived without any issues. It wasn’t painful believe it or not but in all honesty, wasn’t too pleasant. And maybe I’m just a big baby but so be it! I think with the eye being one of the most sensitive parts of the body in my opinion, any treatment in the area is going to be pretty uncomfortable. The whole procedure took about only 10 minutes. Quite a few numbing drops were inserted into my eye, along with some kind of numbing ointment applied with a Q tip. They used a speculum which is a device to keep the eye open. And then I was asked to look down and to the right and the doctor injected the medication right in. It’s a really unusual feeling to have all of this fluid rushing to your field of vision and I didn’t like it at all. My orders were to apply antibiotic drops four times between that day & the next but I didn’t have to restrict any activities or anything. I was told I may have some discomfort for 24 hours and to keep a watch for any real pain, redness or difference in vision. That night and the next day my eye felt like there was something sharp in it that I couldn’t rub or get out. Quite sore. It was also tearing a lot with sensitivity to light. The following two days were a bit better but still felt like there was something in it and I had periods of cloudiness. Now, 9 days later, my eye is pretty much back to normal. Thank goodness.

I have a follow up appointment in about 5 weeks to see how my eye responded to the treatment. I’m praying that it worked and that I won’t need another any time soon. Apparently it’s possible to need multiple treatments. I cannot even imagine. I know that some PWD have had more intense treatments for retinopathy and my heart goes out to them. I also hope by monitoring the health of my eyes on a regular basis, I will be able to treat anything before it becomes severe. If there is anything I’ve learned from this experience it is that routine examinations are critical.

I hope the weather improves for everyone, safety and calm remains for us where terror alerts have been issued and take a moment on Sunday to remember those whose lives were lost on 9/11.    

Bigger Things.

About 2 weeks ago, I posted about some little things that have sprung up for me recently in terms of complications.  After my first visit to a retina specialist last week, it turns out my little “eye thing” isn’t exactly little.

I went to see a retina specialist based on the recommendation of my ophthalmologist when I saw him at the end of last month.  From the pictures he took, he saw a deposit on my macula and thought it was something I needed to monitor.  The retina specialist indeed saw the deposit from his own pictures but he also saw swelling in the same eye.  This called for me to have a fluorescein angiogram for further analysis of what is going on in the back of my eye.  I will be honest,  I was scared.  I’ve never had one of those tests before and the way they made me sign a consent form and describe possible side effects, panic set in.  Bigtime.  If you’ve never had one or don’t know what the test is, it’s when they inject a dye into your bloodstream that makes your blood vessels sort of fluorescent and easier to see in pictures.  It actually didn’t turn out to be too bad, thankfully.  I think the worst of it may have been the pink vision that followed for about 5-10 minutes afterward or the fluorescent pee I was excreting for the next 2 days!  From those pictures, the doctor was able to see that I have some blood vessels that are leaking.  That is what is causing the deposit on my macula.  Stacey, this is diabetic retinopathy.  Diabetic retinopathy, this is Stacey. 

What scares me the most is that all of this began since my last ophthalmologist exam in November.  Nothing showed up in the pictures taken then.  Just 8 months ago.  (I typically have an exam every 6 months however this time around they forgot to remind me so a little more time had passed)  This just stressed to me how crucial keeping up with the various doctor appointments is.  Even as annoying as they can seem. 

As unhappy as I was to receive that news, I am glad that we caught it fairly early.  I am scheduled to have an intraviteral injection (medicine being injected into the eye) in the next 2-3 weeks.  I’m definitely not looking forward to that but if it’s going to help the leaking situation, hopefully before it gets much worse, I’m all for it.

Little Things.

I have been living with type 1 diabetes for almost 30 years. I know that is a very long time (remember urine strip testing?) and fortunately I have remained complication free. Up until now. Some of the things that I fear the most are beginning to happen. And it seems all at once. I was diagnosed with the start of neuropathy in my feet recently. I will have an NCV to confirm that in the next month or two. I started treatment for mild gastroparesis about two months ago. And next week I will be making my first visit to a retina specialist due to a deposit on my macula that was detected at my semi-annual check-up with my ophthalmologist.

Those of us who have diabetes know the possibilities that may lie ahead.  And we do everything we can to believe that they won’t happen to us.  So to hear those possbilitiles becoming realites, is a bit unnerving.  Right now these are little things that are not the cause for alarm but more, things that I need to monitor. But it scares me half to death that these things could progress. Or that other things could start happening. I know that early detection is crucial in diagnosing and treating diabetes complications. And even stopping the progress of them. I know that now more than ever I need to manage my BG as tightly as possible. So with that knowledge, I’m not going to let these obstacles get me down. I’m going to do everything in my power to manage them. And not let my worst fears come true.

And on a happier note, I want to wish my beautiful niece a very happy 4th birthday!!! 🙂