Joe and I went to the Yemassee train station and took a series of pictures. I think all teenagers, at one time or another, have thoughts of running away from home.
Those of you that know me, know that I have Type 1 Diabetes. It’s also been known as Juvenile Diabetes or Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Most of you are probably more familiar with Type 2 Diabetes because this is the one that is mostly talked about in the media.
Sometimes when I tell people I have diabetes, they assume that I have somehow caused the disease. I told one friend that I have always had an addiction to sweets. Her comment to me was that perhaps I ate too many in my youth and that’s what caused me to have diabetes. No. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown but is most likely an autoimmune disorder.
Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age. However, it is most often diagnosed in children, adolescents, or young adults. I was diagnosed at age 38, which is relatively late in life to be diagnosed with Type 1.
Insulin is a hormone produced by special cells, called beta cells, in the pancreas. The pancreas is found behind your stomach. Insulin is needed to move blood sugar (glucose) into cells, where it is stored and later used for energy. In type 1 diabetes, beta cells produce little or no insulin.
Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells. The body is unable to use this glucose for energy. This leads to the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.
There is no cure for diabetes so in order to live, I must inject Insulin everyday. Normally I control my diabetes through an Insulin pump. However, I have been having issues with my infusion sets not working properly so this week I’ve gone back to shots. This is what my life has been like this week.
I wake up at 8:00 a.m. and the first thing I do is check my blood sugar. I stick my finger with a lancet which causes me to bleed. I put the blood on a little test strip that is inserted in my glucometer and in a few seconds a number comes up that lets me know what my blood sugar is.
If my blood sugar reading is too low, then I have to eat something to bring it up. For this, I need to eat something that will get my blood sugar to rise quickly and most of the time I will eat a couple of glucose tablets. If we have bananas or other fruit, I’ll eat that, or milk and cereal. I need to check my blood sugar at least four times a day but I typically check it about eight times a day. It’s also important to check it before I drive. Many diabetics have been mistaken as drunk because of a low blood sugar.
Once I know what my blood sugar number is, it’s time to give myself the first injection of the day. This is a slow acting Insulin that works for 24 hours (or at least it’s supposed to). This is what’s known as the basal insulin. I use what’s called an insulin pen. It looks like a pen and I put on a needle tip, dial in the amount of insulin needed, and inject it in my stomach area.
If my blood sugar is too high or it’s time to for a meal, I then inject a fast acting Insulin to cover that meal. I have to count how many carbohydrates I’m going to eat and figure out how much Insulin is needed to cover that amount. In my case, I take one unit of Insulin for every 15 grams of carbohydrate I’m going to eat. I use a regular old syringe for that along with the Humalog as the Insulin. In order to know how much Insulin I need to inject, I need to check my blood sugar again and find out where I’m at because that will determine how much Insulin to inject. If I’m low, then I won’t need as much but if I’m high, then I need to use a little more.
In order to get the best control possible, I need to take my shots about the same time each day. I need to eat my meals about the same time each day. And I need to eat about the same amount of carbohydrates each day. If I leave the house I need to take a kit that contains my glucometer, Insulin, syringes, and something to eat. I have to be aware of everything I eat because even a little Altoids mint can have an affect on my blood sugar. And if my blood sugar gets high, then I have to take an injection to correct it.
I called my Insulin pump educator yesterday and discussed the problems I’ve been having with my infusion sets. She is sending me some different sets to try out so that I can find out which ones will work in order to get me back pumping. Pumping is much simpler than injections. Other than checking my blood sugars throughout the day, the only jabbing I have to do comes once every 2-3 days when I need to change the infusion set.
I program the pump to give me a basal rate of insulin throughout the day. It’s being dripped in continuously. When I eat, I punch in what my blood sugar number is and how many carbs I’m going to eat and the pump will let me know how much of a bolus I need to cover for that meal. The bolus is like me giving a shot with the Humalog and syringe. I can eat what I want and when I want. I can even skip a meal if I’m not hungry. If my blood sugar is too high, I just punch in how much I need and the pump will deliver my insulin. No jabbing necessary.
I’ve coveted Dr. Marten boots for a long time. Probably since the 90s when I first learned of their existence.
It ended up being a good experience for Joe. I’ve been teaching him photography and this was a good opportunity for him to learn a few new things. He was using my camera and in full manual mode which means he had complete control over the exposure.
Yes, I’m still alive. The pollen has been trying to kill me, but I’m fighting it and hanging in there.