Posts Tagged With: Diabetes

It’s the End of the World As We Know It

So yesterday was the day. The Day. I mean THE DAY.

After making plans to leave work early, I ended up taking the whole day off, knowing I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on much anyway. So I slept in, then grabbed my mom and we drove to Düsseldorf for my appointment with the clinic for the Endobarrier.

And what can I say? I went to Düsseldorf and talked to a doctor and all I got was this stupid picture of a cat house.

But let me start in the beginning.

I was already disheartened when we drove by the clinic and found it was quite a shabby little place, not what you would imagine an institution to look like that specializes in exciting new treatments to help people with body issues there wasn’t a solution for before. The car park pretty much looked like what I imagine the surface of Mars to be like. Hello, potholes filled with waters so vast I wasn’t sure if I was even in the same country when I made it out on the other end. Finding the way inside was equally challenging, with lots of signs leading nowhere or to locked doors.

Inside, the place seemed okay-ish enough and the assistant was nice but while I was talking to him, a doctor came along and gave me this strange look, then started talking about me with the assistant. Helloooo, I’m right here?! To my horror, he was the guy I was supposed to talk to and who’d put in the Endobarrier.

He told me to follow him, even though I was early, and then the first thing he said was that I was the wrong type of diabetes and why was I even there? I’m a type one and apparently, the treatment is only aimed at patients with a type two diabetes. I had only even seen type two mentioned everywhere in the flyers they’d sent me but since both, my diabetes counselor and her boss had recommended me, I figured that maybe the studies only referred to type two because there’d been more cases or whatever. I could have called them about it but let’s face it, when two specialists suggest something, such a minor detail doesn’t really make you suspicious, does it?

What bothered me the most was the way he was talking to me. Admittedly, from his point of view, the whole preparation was a mess. The form I’d had to fill out before wasn’t complete. There were things I didn’t know and when I’d handed it in to my doc to forward to the clinic, I’d attached a post-it with all the things that they should add, i.e. blood test results. Well, turns out they didn’t. Why hadn’t I attached something from a gym or somewhere showing timestamps of when I had worked out and where? Why wasn’t there anything about a food coach in there yet? Well, because no one had told me those were required! No, actually that’s not even true. Not only hadn’t they told me I didn’t need that at this point, they’d specifically said I should wait and that a food coach would be part of the Endobarrier treatment. No one told me I had to have completely at least two months with one of those to even apply for my insurance to cover the costs. And work out? Well, what do you do if you’re not a member of any gym? If I took up swimming, our local pool has annual memberships and you can come and go whenever you want. There’d simply be no way for me to prove this.

My favorite part of the talk was when he asked me how I felt about this and if I had any more questions and I said that, to be honest, I was quite mad at my doctor for not only giving me all the wrong information but also for letting me walk into this blindly because it was quite a waste of time. And the idiot said he wasn’t mad because it was his job to talk to people and if it wasn’t me, it would have been someone else, so it wasn’t a waste of time. Well, not for you! For me, it was months and months of time and energy wasted on hoping for something that won’t happen, a bunch of extra hours of work I could have taken off to do something fun and a trip to Düsseldorf for, well, nothing.

The only upside is, apparently they’d also lied about the possible weight loss results. According to my doctor, it would be at the very least 15%, probably a lot more. Well, the guy said I should expect a maximum of 20kg, probably a lot less because of how the weight is carried with me. I’m sorry, I know it isn’t only about weight loss here, but that result really wouldn’t be worth all the bureaucratic hassle it would take (another thing my doctor completely played down).

I was so very fucking mad! The first thing I did was cry. A lot. Then I got angry and bitched. A lot.

We were supposed to spend the rest of the day in Düsseldorf, do some shopping, have dinner… But suddenly I was very, very sick of that place and its posh people and its stupid doctors who probably drive a Porsche that they bought with money made from people’s tears. Yes, I’m being overdramatic!

So instead, we drove to a mall near my hometown where we had coffee and I bitched some more – my mom actually joining in this time. And then I went to my favorite lingerie store. I don’t know why but buying delicate things like lingerie that you get to carry home in pretty little bags and that get wrapped in gorgeous thin paper for you to unwrap like a gift when you get home…it’s just oddly satisfying. Even more so than shoes. And I did buy a bra and it is gorgeous and I love the bag I got for it. But still, it wasn’t the best idea I ever had. I love that chain and I love their products (especially because they carry actual wearable plus sizes in decent colors!) but the woman in the changing rooms in that branch just wouldn’t take no for an answer. She attacked me with a measuring tape and just kept poking her head into the cabin without asking and really, when you’ve spent the day dealing with all your imperfections and had your hopes crushed to get help with them (actually even being told yours are the wrong imperfections!), the last thing you need is another stranger taking a closer look at them! Didn’t stop me from buying, though. What ever stopped me from swiping my credit card through a card reader?

Anyway…bad day, hopes crushed, one more door closed. I’ll take a while to lick my wounds and then move on. Finding other ways, trying other things, moving forward in my own pace. Fuck ’em doctors, yo!

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Wake Up Call

I’m still sick as a dog and napping has become my favorite thing to do over the past few days. I like to stay up late and sleep in and that’s what I did yesterday. At around ten A.M., after about five hours of sleep, a buzzing sound woke me up. I vaguely remember checking the display of my phone and seeing an unknown number. I never answer those but something about this number struck me as important, so I picked up. And found myself speaking right to a very calm and kind female voice introducing herself as a doctor from the clinic where I applied for the Endobarrier.

Two things were clear to me right that instant: 1) I was nowhere near ready for that call and 2) I had my mother to thank for this. She’s been to see our doctor a few times lately and really stirred things up. I don’t remember giving her the permission to inquire about the progress whenever she went there, and neither do I remember giving the permission to be so open about it to my doctor. A part of me is really angry that they’ll just discuss me like that. But eh, it’s my mother, she knows what’s up and she’s usually the first person I call with news anyway, so I suppose getting mad about it is a waste of energy.

Anyway, the doctor said she feels I definitely qualify and that she and her team would like to meet me for an interview. Still sleepy and numb, I made an appointment for the 26th. And now I’m so nervous, you’d think I’m going in to meet my future husband!

I know there’s absolutely no reason in the world why I would not seize this opportunity. It’s completely free and there are no likely side effects. If it helps, it really helps a lot in many different ways. If it doesn’t help, that sucks but no worries, the thing will be out within a few days and leave nothing behind but a disappointing experience.

And yet, I’m suddenly a bit doubtful. Maybe it’s just the uneasy feeling I always have when going to an interview about absolutely everything. I know a look at me and my diabetes diary is enough and they’ll see I meet the requirements but I still feel like I need to prove something. But I also keep thinking that since I started organising my food intake according to the 5:2 system, the weight seems to come off by itself. It’s a stupid thought and will get me nowhere because I know the loss will slow down or even stop eventually. Plus, if I do the Endobarrier thing, it will come along with a nutrition tutor that will coach me and help me to stick to goals which I know I will have issues with on my own. But I don’t know, at this moment in time it feels like just taking the easy route when I could do it on my own. Which is really, really stupid thinking. I’ve seen this sort of ‘achievement shaming’ on MFP and other places, where people who’ve managed to lose weight with discipline alone often act as if that was somehow ‘better’. I get that it would probably fill you with more pride but what matters to me is the result and I guess if someone finally invents that magic pill that slims you down to your ideal weight, there’s not a single overweight person in the world who’ll refuse, so can we stop the holier-than-thou game?

Oh, I just don’t know! I guess I’ll just try not to freak out and go to that interview on the 26th and then take it from there. What I already know is that I do not want to do this before Mallorca. I’d have a major freak out if the thing was just in or I had just started eating normal food again and then I’m a two hour flight away from any doctor who could help if there’s an issue…

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Angels In Everyone

Saturday was probably the worst day of my life. As bad days go, it started pretty unspectacular. I got up, I went to work, I got home, I called my mom who said she wanted to go to the mall, so I came along. I bought new shoes, then I wanted new pants, too. My mom said she felt hot, so I told her to take her coat off. Then she said the lights were weird and flimmering and I agreed, the artificial lights in the store were pretty annoying. Then she said she was feeling a bit dizzy, so I said she should sit down. Then she couldn’t walk anymore, so I helped her to take a seat.

And then it started. My own personal worst nightmare.

My mom started shaking and spazzing. True, actual spasms that her banging her head against the wall. At first I thought she was…I don’t even know what I was thinking. It was one of those surreal situations that usually happen in dreams which are so crazy that you’re actually calm because you know they can’t be true, so there must be a good explanation. But she wouldn’t stop and she couldn’t speak anymore, so I flipped.

The end of the story was that my mom’s blood sugar was so far down, she had some spasms. Someone called an ambulance and she was taken to hospital where, luckily, they got her blood sugar up again quite quickly and she was allowed to come home again with me. Which is good and a relief but the shock from seeing her like that just won’t wear off. When I got home on Saturday night, I was so tired, I couldn’t even think and fell asleep pretty easily. But since then, I’ve had a mini panic attack every night before I could go to sleep. Like sleeping was dangerous. Like sleeping means I won’t notice if something happens to her again. In all sincerety, I thought I was gonna lose my mom on Saturday. It isn’t even about her bringing it onto herself because she’s so careless that’s keeping my worry alive (well, that too), it’s just the simple fact that it’s something I cannot and will never control. Even if she takes care of herself – or anyone I care about, actually – there’s always so much that can happen or may already be happening that you cannot help. Awful things like cancer or accidents or a violent stranger. It’s always been a worry of mine but since Saturday, it seems so much more acute.

But anyway, although I needed to get that out, this entry wasn’t supposed to be about myself and how very much this affected me. What I originally intended to write about are angels. Not the religious ‘sent from God’ kind or any supernatural spirits or maybe even the spirits of the dead. No, I mean people that just happen to always be there when they’re needed. Actually, I mean two (or actually five) specific people.

Because when that thing happened with my mom, before the ambulance was even called, before I even realised what was going on, a young woman seemed to come out of nowhere. Not only did she immediately step in to help, she also happened to be a professional. In all the chaos, I didn’t get exactly what her job was but apparently she works with diabetes patients a lot and had seen such spasms many times before. She was there with her mother, sister and a young man who I think was her partner and they all knew so much about diabetes, too. And, which was even more amazing, they immediately took care of me, too. They took me aside and while the young woman helped my mom, her family talked to me and calmed me down and hugged me. I’ve never been hugged by a stranger before. Hell, most members of my family never hug me or anyone else! And these people were just…there. As if I was part of their family. I’ve never met anyone who was that kind. There wasn’t anything creepy about it at all and I didn’t even feel awkward. I think if they hadn’t been there, not only would my mom have hurt herself but I would have also gone bat shit crazy. I’m so, so mad at myself for not asking for their names or numbers, so I could have given them something back, even just a small gift. My mom already said we should look into finding them through Facebook or a radio station or something like that. Although I have a hard time believing they’re even real. They truly seemed like angels to me, the way they just popped up out of nowhere.

And, since those were four people, there’s still one missing that I already said deserves a mention here. Who’s actually not popped up out of nowhere but still is always exactly where I need her when I need her and that’s my very, very good friend Mel. While the ambulance guys worked on my mom, the helpers asked if there wasn’t someone I could or should call, a father, a sibling, any family member. And the first person I thought of was Mel. I have an uncle, I have two aunts…but she’s the first person I thought of when they asked me about my family. Because she’s always there. I called her as soon as I could and, as she has so often, she managed to get me grounded again. I really hope that everyone has a person like her in their life, whether it’s actual blood family or someone you just made your family, just someone that you can call anytime, for any big or small reason, who will be honest with you but still have your back either way. And boy, do I know I’m making that hard for her sometimes most of the time.

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Something to Think About

I went to the appointment with my diabetologist today and it made me wish I’d go to see her more often. She brings things up that no other doctor or consultant approaches. Like two years ago, it was her who suggested I go to see an endocrinologist to help me figure out my thyroid issues.

Today, completely out of the blue, she asked what I thought about a gastric band or bypass. To be honest, I don’t know exactly which surgery she meant because until I googled around a bit later on, I had no idea there were so many different possibilities. She gave me some term that I forgot, something endo-something, where apparently you get something added / inserted into your stomach for a year. It sounded like a gastric band but upon googling it, I learned that most people don’t have that removed so soon, so I don’t know. But anyway, right now that’s not important yet.

So she asked me about it and at first, I dismissed it because yes, it had crossed my mind a lot, but I thought I wasn’t eligible, so my insurance wouldn’t cover it. To which she said that, of course it would. My BMI is >40 and she / my doctor would recommend it which means that usually, it takes little to no effort for the insurance to give their okay. So all of a sudden, this is a possibility that I can consider.

I am almost 100% sure that I want to do it after a lengthy conversation with her. We checked my diabetes diary together, she looked at my options and efforts thus far and basically, it’s not impossible for me to lost weight, of course, but it will be so slow that it would take me years. It’s a lot to do with the insulin rates I need, my thyroid issues, etc. She said what I need to consider is that during those years, the weight will keep having an influence on my body and I can reduce the risk of any follow-up problems by losing it more quickly due to this surgery.

This is not about taking the easy way out for me at all. I admit that it sounded like it in the first place, yeah. I mean it sounds great. Get surgery, spend a couple days in hospital, then drop weight like whoa. Which is basically what will happen. But along with that, according to experiences of other people I’ve found in forums and on websites, comes a lot of pain, general discomfort, a struggle with adjusting your daily life to the new condition and, of course, nutrition classes that teach you to not just rely on your stomach having a smaller volume but also to learn what to eat and what to avoid so you won’t gain it all back. On the plus side, all these things will be covered by my insurance, I “only” need to bring the motivation and effort.

Also, according to my diabetologist, there’s an almost 100% chance they’ll also cover the follow-up surgery of having the dead skin removed which can’t be avoided. As I mentioned previously, I’m already struggling with that now and if I’ll lose almost half my weight within a year, that part isn’t exactly gonna improve.

It all sounds really, really promising, despite the many risks and things to consider. What I’m most worried about is the surgery itself. My history with any kind of surgery and hospital stays isn’t a positive one and I think that’s what I’ll spend the most research on. Finding the right place and knowing exactly who will be doing what, that is. Without sounding bitter, I feel like the people treating my previous gastro issues were complete amateurs and did more wrong than right. With this, I’ll try to find a really good place rather than just choosing the nearest one for convenience reasons.

If it’s gonna happen, of course. So far, it’s just been brought up once and it’ll be a long way til it actually happens and I’ll see results. Right now we agreed that my diabetologist will speak with her boss, the doctor of their clinic and then I have another appointment, hopefully with both of them, in two weeks where they’ll give me further input. After reading so much about it today, I have way more questions than I had this morning, especially concerning the exact method she meant. And from there, I think the next step would be that I get the required forms and medical checks done to send an application to my insurance. Most people on forums and websites I’ve checked have waited between a month and three for a reply from their insurance, some getting a negative one at first and having to reapply. So I don’t think it’ll all happen this year because when I have the okay, I still need to make an appointment. Fingers crossed it’ll be faster and easier but hey, a few months seem like nothing.

Until then, I’ll just continue this journey as usual, eat as clean as I can, watch my insulin, work out. To get my hba1c in order, I have to do several basal rate tastes which means not eating over the course of six or seven hours, no added insulin either, and then see where that gets me. I started the afternoon test today and it’s hard because I’m still hungry and craving fooooood but I really want to show her that I do care and that I am willing to cooperate. Plus, I just wanna get that damn hba1c in check. The – perhaps justified but still annoying – thing with that is, if this value is too high, basically every doctor or consultant will judge you for it and use that as an explanation for everything and let it justify them giving you a long speech about it.

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The Inner Glutton

Ugh, it’s just one of those days!

I can’t seem to stop eating. And not the good stuff, either. I went grocery shopping this morning and because it was sort of a last minute decision, I hadn’t written down a list of things I needed. So I filled the cart with candy and carbs. And I forgot to check the produce section completely. Yes, I forgot. It’s partly blamed on the store for having another layout than the other stores of the chain which all have the produce near the entrance but really, how can I forget to buy fruit or veggies? How can I not even consider there’s something wrong with the contents of my cart when there’s nothing but candy and junk food and frozen goods in there?

But the day just went on like this. I keep eating and snacking. I had fries for lunch – because it was convenient – and a donut later – because it was there – and now I keep thinking of the white chocolate desserts in the fridge – because I’m not-exactly-hungry-but-not-full-either. It’s so hard to fight the inner glutton when it is that strong.

Please note my awesome duckface which I hope I WON’T lose along with the weight.

But anyway, the other day, I took a proper “Before” picture that’s better than other “Before” pictures because it also shows some of my body’s actual shape. It’s important to note that what I’m most self-conscious about and what’s giving me the most grief with my shopping are my impossibly wide hips and – even worse – the flabby skin on my belly. For the most part, that skin is still left over from my weight loss thus far. Though I’ve gained a lot back after starting the insulin therapy, I am still about 20kg lighter than before my diagnose. Plus, that skin was dead anyway, so much like no exercise will make it go away, neither will weight gain. So it’s basically just there and the reason why I’m wearing about two sizes larger than I’d actually require. I thought about checking in with my doctor and insurance to see if I could already get surgery for that now but I don’t know how much flabby skin I’ll have hanging off my body once I lose more weight and I don’t want to go and have a second surgery because of my own impatience. It’s annoying and in the way a lot but doesn’t justify the hassle just yet.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll have to go in for a chat with my diabetes doc. I guess it’s reasonable that she asked to see me after, what, a year? Plus, my hba1c wasn’t all that great the past few times, so I know I should change something. That something is most likely not to slack so much when it comes to checking my blood sugar and actually injecting some insulin right away rather than saying I’ll do it later, “when it is more convenient”. But I also feel that something is off with the rates she prescribed. I have this smart little gadget that tells me how much insulin I need according to the prescribed rates and the current blood sugar but when I listen to its suggestion and don’t adjust the amount a bit, I’m almost always ending up with a BS below 70. So yeah, it is needed but it also means I’ll have to get up at seven to be there at eight when I won’t even have to start work early. Boo-fucking-hoo!

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Check Up

I went to the doctor for my check up today.

The aforementioned hormonal disorder also caused diabetes with me. When I found out about it in a dramatic way that involved being unconscious from high blood sugar and nearly a month spent in hospital, it came as a shock. Not because they diagnosed me with diabetes. I had seen that coming for a long time. Both, my grandma and mother had / have diabetes and let’s face it, I’ve been obese all my life. I figured that diabetes, like death, would eventually happen for me. What was so shocking was that I am a Type I. This particular type is not caused by anything you do or any outer influences like your diet. Mostly, you’re just born with it or at least with the fate to get it at some point in your life. In my particular case, it was caused by the Hashimoto’s (yes, my hormone’s carnival even has a funny name!). Diabetes is pretty much about your body not producing (enough) insulin anymore and even though I was working hard to bring on this strike myself, it turned out that fate had already planned it for me long ago.

I can barely give you any more info about Hashimoto’s which sounds silly, I know. I’ve read up on it a little, just to see if they were lying to me in the hospital. It just sounded too strange. But apparently, it’s true. Now I’m just glad that I know what I have and can roughly start treating it according to the doctors’ advice.

The most severe things it caused with me are the diabetes and a thyroid malfunction. So those are the ones that I’m taking meds for. It’s not that bad. When people find out I’m diabetic, they’re usually shocked and stare at me with pitiful eyes and I never know why. Maybe I’m just used to dealing with it through my family, but I can’t help but feel that I could have hit it so much worse. The worst part about it is that it is a little annoying and time-consuming. I chose a treatment that lets me inject insulin according to what I eat so I won’t have to plan ahead too much. But of course, that means either doing it in public a lot or rushing to the bathroom all the time. I’ve loosened up a lot about checking my blood sugar and even injecting insulin in public by now. For the most part, people don’t care. But still, there are days when I just simply forget about the diabetes. Like last Sunday when I didn’t think of checking my blood sugar at all, even though I had dinner, ice cream and popcorn. Sometime halfway into the movie, I remembered and went to the bathroom. I was over 400 then (normal is somewhere between 80 and 120). This rarely happens, usually it’s more a case of me ignoring it because I’m stubborn, but it does still happen. I think it only shows how comfortable life as a diabetic is nowadays. When my grandma was diagnosed with it some 20 years ago, it had already been improved a lot but even she had to say no to a lot of food because a comfortable insulin therapy like mine didn’t insist then. Neither did awesome pens like the ones I am using to inject my insulin. Yes, I still have to poke myself. Yes, it still hurts a little bit sometimes. But in general, it’s pretty easy to do and I’ve been okay with it ever since I did it myself for the first time. Same with the blood sugar check, though I admit I still take a deep breath before I poke my finger. And when I went to my “Congratulations, you have diabetes!”-course which they put you in when you’re new to the club or when you want to refresh your memory and learn about recent changes and new therapies, there was this elder couple who had both had diabetes since their youth sometime in the 40’s. I have no idea how people dealt with it all back then. A normal life was barely even possible. So yup, I do consider myself lucky still.

Another slight downside are the many doctor appointments it requires. Every three months, I need to go to my check up, once a year it’s a big one including getting the nerves in my feet tested and then I also need to go get my eyes checked once a year. I’ve never been one to spend a lot of time going to see my doctor. If anything, I’m…doubtful when it comes to them. I’ve had my fair share of doctors making mistakes or lying to me so I don’t really go to ask for their advice unless I have to. But as a diabetic, it’s really important.

Today’s appointment went better than expected. My HbA1c went down which means I’m getting less trouble from my doc. The shocking part came when I stepped on the scale and had only lost 1kg in the past three months. But then I remembered they made me check my weighed with my shoes on last time. It’s still not a lot and still depressing but hey, it is going down, so that’s cool. Now I’m just glad to be done with it till January or February. These check ups are never particularly bad (unless they insist on taking a big blood test even though they can’t get any blood from my bad, bad veins) but they usually take five minutes but have me waiting three times as long, if not more. They’re one of the many things I wish they could make more comfortable by letting people do these tests on their own and mail them the results or something. I think the only thing that requires special equipment is the HbA1c test, though I don’t know if they couldn’t come up with something for that, too. The rest are things I can check at home, anyway. Ketones, weight, blood sugar…nothing fancy! Ah well, it could be worse.

Tomorrow will be more painful. My friend is dragging me along to see Breaking Dawn with her. Popcorn-induced sugar rush, here I come!

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