“Am I having a heart attack?” I asked the assistant at my cardiologist’s office as she was reading my EKG results. Then I broke down sobbing. Again.
I have dealt with some anxiety in the past but nothing like this. And it seems like it was from a whirlwind of events. Let me take you back to before that moment in the doctor’s office.
A few weeks ago, a close family member was seriously ill unexpectedly. Thankfully he is better now. However those couple of weeks were very worrisome for us. My husband also had a cardiac procedure. It was scheduled and fairly routine but it was at the same time as the other family member was in the hospital. And it took 6 hours which was not what was expected. That day in the hospital was a long one. We were there at 6am and I didn’t get home until about 8pm. Foolishly I did not have anything to eat or drink that whole day. My BG were pretty good, even dropping low at one point in the afternoon. When I got home that night, leaving my husband in the overnight cardiac unit to recover, I realized I should’ve eaten something. Or drank something. But I honestly do not think I could’ve stomached anything. I checked ketones and of course they were moderate. I drank a lot of water and forced myself to eat what I could. They were lower before I tried to get some sleep.
The next morning, I felt horrible. I knew it was from stress/anxiety. I made sure to check ketones again – they were just about negative and I ate a little breakfast and kept up on water intake. I went to the hospital to pick up my husband as he was being discharged that day. After I was there for a little while, I checked my BG and it was elevated. Something made me take my ketone meter with me (I do not normally carry it with me) so checked those and they were high. I don’t remember having high ketones in a very long time. I started drinking water like a crazy person even though I knew in the back of my mind that may not be enough. After a little while, I re-checked and the ketones were higher, not lower. My heart sank. I called my endo’s office, knowing full well what they were going to tell me, but I called anyway. Sure enough they told me to get to the ER. Fortunately (?) I was already in the hospital so it was a very short trip there. It turned out I was in mild DKA but fortunately I caught it early and they were able to treat me with fluids and released about 12 hours later. In 35 years with Type 1 diabetes, I have never been in DKA. Needless to say I was scared as hell for a few days and drank more water than ever before. And cried. A lot.
The next few days were spent worrying about myself, my husband and also our other family member. I kept getting this feeling in my chest, not pain or pressure, more like a knot or something. It was hard to explain. It would come in waves and that would get me panicking that something was wrong with me. There were times that my heart would start racing. Then that morning, where this post started, I knew I had to get checked out. I seriously thought I was having a heart attack. After some back and forth in my mind of where to go, I decided to call my cardiologist. They were able to squeeze me in so I asked a friend of mine to bring me. I was not having a heart attack. At all. My heart rate was through the roof but it was all from anxiety. She ordered me a 24 hour holter monitor just to be sure and sure enough my heart is fine. While I was seriously thankful that I did not have a heart attack and nothing seems wrong with my heart, I could not believe that I felt so physically bad from anxiety.
I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately. I have a lot to work on. I’m being treated for the anxiety and I’m happy to say that I’ve been feeling a lot better. There was a lot going around social media recently with This Is Us having an episode that showed a character having a panic attack. It’s no joke.
I know I can’t be the only one who is wondering where on earth 2014 went. I seriously feel like it just began! It wasn’t a great year for me but it wasn’t a completely horrible one either. I still have much to be thankful for and look forward to in the new year.
One thing I am NOT looking forward to is a decrease in my health insurance benefits. Beginning on January 1st, my coverage will no longer be 100% and I will also have a deductible for the very first time in my 16 year career. While this may seem like the norm to many, and I am completely aware of that, it is a big change for me. With that in mind, I made a decision a couple of months ago to change insulin pumps. I was using the OmniPod for over two and a half years. I loved it. Had few issues and really loved being tubeless. However, the cost for my insurance for a 3 month supply of pods is well over $1,000 more than traditional infusion sets for a tubed pump. In trying to budget medical expenses and cut where I can, I decided to forgo my OmniPod for a tubed insulin pump. I have an Animas Ping that is still under warranty but I don’t love it (it is the pump I used before switching to the pods). I was using it for a few weeks and disliking the average 180 units of insulin per reservoir, the scrolling, the battery changing and associated rewind and priming necessary with each change. Since I was always interested in the Tandem t:slim, I decided to take the plunge. It was an investment I decided to make out of my own pocket and since I couldn’t get a trial with one, I took comfort in their 30 day return policy. However it has been about 2 months since I began using it and couldn’t be happier with it!
I set it up myself (and I do not suggest every person doing this) and it literally took about 10 minutes. The priming takes a bit longer compared to other pumps but that is not a deal breaker for me. I knew the touch screen was going to make operating it easier but I didn’t realize just how much. I wasn’t sure how I was going to like having to charge it. But this battery lasts forever! And charges really quickly! Other electronic device makers should take note! I was using Apidra when I first started with the t:slim with no apparent issues. However my insurance decided to change that for me as well and stop covering it beginning January 1st. I asked my CDE for a sample of Novolog (the only short acting insulin my insurance will now cover) to see if it worked well for me. It does so I switched that too. All in all it’s been a good transition and I actually don’t miss my OmniPod as much as I thought I would.
My last endocrinologist appointment went ok. It was rather short lived since she was called out for a consultation with another doctor but she did say I was easy 🙂 My A1c is stable and the rest of my blood and urine work were all normal, thankfully. I have an appointment for some bladder test that may reveal another complication but more on that next month. My last retina specialist appointment went well and showed no evidence of macular edema or subretinal fluid which was music to my ears! That means my retinopathy has been stable for over 3 years thanks to Lucentis.
December 24th marked 33 years of T1D for me. It’s hard to believe that much time has gone by but it came with very mixed emotions. Over the past few years I’ve had a few things start to turn up which get me down from time to time but overall I’m still doing well and am very grateful for that. And that is what I need to concentrate on. To keep it that way 🙂
I want to wish all of my readers and friends very happy holidays. I wish you all a healthy and happy new year.
32 years ago today I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. (damn I feel old) It is impossible to forget the anniversary of my diagnosis since it falls on Christmas eve. To be honest once the festivities begin, it usually slips to the back of my mind. But as the day approaches I can’t help but reflect over the past many years. How much has changed in my life since that day when I was a little girl. How many finger pricks I’ve done. How many injections I’ve received. How many doctors I’ve seen. How many high and low blood sugars I’ve had. It’s all countless at this point.
I know one can, and I have so far, lived well with diabetes. But there are fears that remain. And although sometimes they rear their ugly heads, I focus on the positive. Which there is a lot of. I’m hoping to head into my 33rd year on a good note and that the new year will be a good one for me and everyone else that is affected by diabetes.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
The winner of the Lauren’s Hope gift certificate is ……….
Congratulations Penney!! Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact info that I can pass on so you can claim your gift. Thank you so very much Lauren’s Hope, both for making such great medical alert accessories and for providing this opportunity for both me and Penney 🙂
New Ink. (just the writing anyway)
If you know me, you will be well aware of my interest in new things that come out. Or if you don’t know me too well, you probably have heard about it already here 🙂 With that being said, Accu-chek has a new lancing device out called the Fastclix. I don’t know if there has been some sort of “formal” announcement about its launch or not but I found out about it when I received a coupon in my email from CVS. They were offering me a discount off of a new Aviva Plus meter plus a box of the Fastclix lancet drums. What’s this Fastclix they speak of, I wondered to myself. And of course I went on a mission to find out about it. Right now it is only available for purchase as part of the Aviva Plus meter system. (a special thank you to Rob from Roche who answered my original questions about the new product!) From CVS, the meter costs $19.99 so I purchased one online so that I could check out the new lancing device.
Let me stop here for a moment. I have been a long time user of the Multiclix lancing device, also from Accu-chek. I have a few lying around places in case I should ever lose one. Or one should break. I refuse to use any other kind of lancing device no matter how many different meters I have acquired over the years (and that’s many). You may then wonder why I was so eager to try the Fastclix? I wanted to see what the “1-click” was all about.
Multiclix shown above.
Fastclix shown above.
(image credits: Accu-chek)
So I’ve been using the Fastclix for almost a week. My initial thoughts was that it is different compared to the Multiclix even though they look a lot alike. Each drum contains 6 preloaded lancets which is the same and something Accu-chek should never, ever change! The 11 depth settings are also the same and a great feature There is a new lever that advances to a new lancet, as opposed to turning of the plunger. This may prove easier for some, especially if conditions like arthritis in the hands are present. There is nothing to press to prime it prior to lancing and there is no release button. All you do is press the plunger at the top like a pen. Hence the “1-click” mechanism. This I really like. Not that it takes more than a second or two to prime, but add up each second gained for each BG test and it adds up! Especially if your fingers are hardened like mine and at times takes a few tries to get blood out of those darn things. The actual lancing feels pretty much the same – which is a very good thing for your fingers. Overall it’s good and I don’t dislike it. However part of me feels more comfortable with the button release of the Multiclix. But that could be just the result of a longtime habit. Either way you can’t go wrong with either of these devices. If you haven’t tried either one, I would seriously recommend it. Your fingers will thank you!
Disclaimer: the contents of this post are strictly based on my own experience and I have no personal connection to Accu-chek or Roche Diabetes.
My friend Gina, well my diabetes BFF, started a tradition called D Blog Day a few years ago. Today is the big day for 2011 and she has asked us to do a scrapbooking project including a few specific details. Since I don’t pay attention to instructions (and used the wrong kind and size paper), what I created last night is just a draft and the real thing will be completed this weekend. This was fun!
Happy D Blog day everyone! 🙂
**Update** The below is my final scrapbook page (with the correct kind and size paper 🙂 )
Values that are found in friendships (from my good ol’ reliable friend Wikipedia):
- The tendency to desire what is best for the other.
- Sympathy and empathy.
- Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one’s counterpart.
- Mutual understanding and compassion; ability to go to each other for emotional support.
- Enjoyment of each other’s company.
- Trust in one another.
- Positive reciprocity — a relationship is based on equal give and take between the two parties.
- The ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgment.
Do most of the members from the diabetes community interact “online”? I’d say yes. (Hence the name DOC) Does that stop any of the above values from existing? No way. Every single one of the values of friendship exist among the diabetes community and that is what makes it so incredible. And the meetings in person just magnify everything it is made of. Empathy, sympathy, honesty, enjoyment, positivity, non judge mental, compassion. It’s all there. I’ve been fortunate to attend numerous diabetes meet ups of various kinds. This past Saturday I attended the biggest meet up I have experienced yet. There were 17 people with diabetes in attendance as well as some type 3’s. All to meet and hang out with a fellow diabetic from very far away; Australia. Diabetes wasn’t always the topic of conversation. Probably more often than not, the topic was something entirely different. But there was a lot of fun being had. By all of us. The whole time. I love the friends I’ve had either growing up or since my adulthood began. But in the past 3-4 years I have gained so many more friends that just happen to have diabetes also. And these friends have touched my life in a way that is indescribable. For that, I am forever grateful.
To steal an idea from Sara, together the 17 of us had diabetes for 381 years. That is A LOT of diabetes experiences. A LOT of high and low BGs. A LOT of finger sticks. A LOT of insulin. Yet there were A LOT of smiles and laughing all day long. Diabetes isn’t always the pits. You can do this.
One might think that people living with diabetes get a rest at night when they sleep. Not so. Unfortunately blood glucose (BG) levels can change during the night, even while you are not doing anything but sleeping. Crazy right? And this is where using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) can help alert you of high or low BG that you otherwise may not know of. Since you’re well, sleeping. Except that those alarms from the CGM can cause for restless nights. Last night had to be the worst in my CGM-ing history. Before going to sleep, around 9:15pm, I was 156. A while before that I had a low that was being stubborn. And of course the carbs I ingested caught up to me. Around 10:30 I got my first high alarm. (my high alarm is set at 200 mg/dL) I tested and was 231. So I corrected and went to sleep. And so it began. The night of hourly high alarms. I wasn’t terribly high but hanging around the 200 mark. All. Night. I corrected, I increased my basal. But nothing seemed to bring me back to normal. And since I was trying to sleep, and wasn’t dangerously high, I kept trying to sleep. And the Dexcom kept waking me. Then my pump would go off too. The 2 hour reminder after my bolus. And the beeping that I was down to 20 units in the reservoir. If I wasn’t such a considerate individual, I would have contemplated screaming. And if it wakes me up, of course it wakes the hubby too. So sorry Joe.
Diabetes doesn’t sleep. And that means sometimes, neither do we.