Sunday 29 January 2012

Could the Real Kate, Please Stand Up.

I haven't been around much in the DOC this past week. Maybe a little more. I haven't been participating in DSMA or the usual twitter banter that we all enjoy with each other. Haven't blogged a whole lot either. I actually haven't been interacting with anybody a whole lot.

As some of you know, I started up a little thing for myself back in December, called DRehab. The next couple of paragraphs is an extract from an email I sent to a wonderful friend of mine, whom I met through the DOC. These words explained why I needed to check into DRehab so desperately.

"My background..I was diagnosed when I was 13. I’m 19 now. At first, I did really well. I thrived on just doing what I was supposed to do and being a good kid. I had almost perfect control all the time, I never had a problem with my Diabetes at all. I did most of it myself, or so I thought, but really I let my mom control a lot of my actions and i’m only realising that now. I gave her power a little bit every time, slowly. That is why i’m where i’m at now with the anxiety. A year and a half after I was diagnosed, my Grandfather died very suddenly. I was very close with my Grandparents. That summer I seemed to have sort of melt down. I was 15. I started having panic attacks and couldn’t leave the house. Couldn’t let my Mom go anywhere without me. I would get so panicky in the car sometimes I would make her pull over and if she didn’t, I would pull her arm off the wheel and almost crash the car. I couldn’t stay in school unless my Mom stayed outside in the car. All day.

It was very intense and I was like that for a long time. I never checked my blood sugar, never bolused, and spent most of the day disconnected from the pump. I was convinced that no matter what I did, I was going to go low and die. At night time I never connected my pump. When I did check my blood sugar, rarely, it would be 500+. I would freak out if my bloodsugar went under 360 because I was afraid I would go low. I remember one day I checked and I Was 260 and I had a total panic attack because I thought I was going to go low. I had a lot of hospital stays because my Mom would discover I wasn’t taking my insulin, she would try to give me a shot and I wouldn’t let her, so she would just send me to the hospital. But I was so scared and nobody saw that. Everybody just thought that I was being selfish and that was so hard. My Mom didn’t send me to counselling because she thought it was just a phase I was going through. She didn’t know for a long time that I was taking absolutely no insulin. I lied all the time and said my blood sugars were fine. When I would feel really sick, I would maybe take 2 units to take the edge off the high.

Then I started staying connected to the pump. But I never bolused. My panic attacks got a little better to where I could almost function. I went to college, got a full time job. Staying connected to the pump but never bolusing and constantly over eating, even while I was working. I did this right up until the 27th of November, 2011. My a1c was unreadable. Then one night I was watching Private Practice and I saw one of the characters putting herself through Rehab for drug addiction. I often thought to myself, I wondered if Rehab would help me. it was like an addiction, not taking the insulin and I just needed to stop lying and be open and honest about my fears. So I started DRehab, and shared my story on twitter. They were the hardest nights of my life but I knew that I had to do something because I was so scared that complications were lurking. I still get scared now but I bolus for everything now and it feels so wonderful to have that control back. My anxiety isn’t much better, I still won’t go anywhere alone and rarely go out with my friends, but it is slowly getting better. I'm putting myself through counselling every week and i’m working hard on my issues."

That's a bite-sized slice of my story. Like anybody else going through a rehab programme, I have relapses. I'm going through one now. I have been grossly over eating and not bolusing because this week, the fear won.

Right now i'm sitting at my kitchen table as I write this, having just consumed 50g of carbs and not bolusing for them because I am so worried that I will go low and die. I know that my fear is irrational, I do know that. But it feels incredibly real that it paralyses my every move and consumes my every thought through each and every day. I'm taking medication. I go to counselling. I'm in a better place than I was before. I keep my pump attached all the time. I check a couple times a day and I bolus here and there. That has been my pattern the last few days. Right now I know i'm
So high that my eyes feel greasy and I already wanna pee and and I just feel exhausted, yet I can't sleep. I feel like that all the time when I go through these relapses.

I don't know why i'm putting this all out there. I think maybe being real about it and being accountable, not hiding it anymore may help me push through it. I'm scared that i'm going to get hate mail, saying how awful and careless I am, how selfish I am, or even how stupid Or ridiculous I am behaving. I've heard it all before.

I'm in a dark lonely place right now and i'm looking everywhere for a ray of light that is going to help me find my way out.

I'll keep going through the motions and hoping i'll land on my feet with complications. I am aware that I probably will not. But i'm doing what I can to stay calm. This all has to be for something.

So I hope. And wish. And dream.

Wednesday 25 January 2012


Everything has been crazy recently. I have returned to university after a long and calming break, which meant that my food choices, sleeping habits, daytime routine, and basically everything in my life was shaken up. My blood glucose levels reflected this.

The problem is, when my BGs run high for an extended time I feel like crap and I get stuck in a rut. I can't be bothered to basal test, I can't be bothered to change my pump settings, I just want to sleep. That is not conducive to getting better. At all.

It seems like the most best thing for me to get my BGs back on track is for me not to be feeling terrible from high BGs in the first place. But for now, I'll take a little help from my friends to get me back on track.

Diabetes is behaving better today. And I can appreciate just a little how lucky I am to live in a place like this, diabetes or not.

The depression makes it hard to get to that point. I savour every moment of "lucky" I feel.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

The Boob Infusion Site

(Read: I did this boob site back in December. But I never blogged about it, so in case you missed what happened, here you go.)

A couple of weeks back, I was giving a correction bolus while I was interacting with the DOC on twitter, and for some strange reason, I wondered what it would be like to have my pump set in my boob. (This was also a week after I shaved off all. of. my. hair. I think that may have been crazy week.) Pain didn't come into my head at first. I just thought it was interesting. Now, I know that the breasts are made of different tissues and muscles and that we aren't educated to place the infusion sets there for a reason.

But did anybody ever try it? I asked twitter. I got some horror stories from a couple of the ladies, involving an unknown female inserting her set 'down there'. One word: Ouch. Some of the ladies were curious to know if anybody ever tried it, but we couldn't find a record of it. So I tried it.

I finished my breakfast and gave my bolus. Ripped out my old set (it was time to change it anyways) and I jumped in for my 'free' shower. I was all gung ho and ready for this baby. Then I sat on the bed and looked at the Inset and I thought: "Oh. This is going in my boob." I felt a little sick and shaky but I really wanted to do it. Just to SEE. So I inserted it on the top of the fatty part of my right breast. I was aware of the needle going in and coming out, but there was no pain or discomfort. It just felt...well it felt weird. It was in my BOOB. But there was no..OMG.

My wonderful photo editing skills below show where I placed the infusion set. In case there is confusion, the red one is the infusion set.  (I have a tendency to complicate things).

So I left it there for a couple of hours. Still no pain. I checked the site regularly to make sure it wasn't getting red or swollen. I was afraid that the insulin wouldn't absorb properly and just pool there, but it didn't appear to. I checked my blood sugar regularly and they held very steady, too. It was just hanging there, in my boob, like a normal site.

I went about the day as normal. Went shopping with my sister. Even ate some candy. And maybe some fast food. I bolused with the boob site. And 2 hours post meal, my blood sugar was normal, the site was still comfortable, and appeared fine.

But it was in my boob. And it was freaking me out. So I pulled it out.

Now I know.

Thursday 19 January 2012

A Chill in the Community

In general, I feel a lot of warmth from the DOC.  But this week, I saw more hatred and harshness, than warmth, and that saddens me greatly.

This week, there has been a lot of negative reaction to Paula Deen coming out about her Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis. I don't know her from the TV, being in Ireland, I never even heard of her until all of this speculation started amongst the DOC about her diagnosis.

I felt incredibly disappointed about how some of my fellow PWD's responded to it all. This community is supposed to be about helping each other fight and get through our illness. Not place blame, mock, or "I told you so". When one of us is feeling crappy from a high blood sugar, we don't tweet back and be all, "HAHAH!! Your own fault, dumbass! Shouldn't have ate those carbs now should you?!". We don't do that. So why did so many people WITH diabetes, do that to this woman? You don't know her story, her background, the struggles she faces in her own life.

Diabetes, no matter what type, is nobody's fault. Unhealthy lifestyle choices may in some cases be a trigger to the development of Type 2, but that is neither here nor there. The fact is, she has Diabetes now, why not just leave her be, and give her some support? Why place the blame game, the why and how? Who cares. The fact is she is now part of our club, the club that nobody wants to be a part of. It's not fair and the audacity of some people to place judgement and fire hatred towards her makes me feel worried and sort of alone. Some people have forgotten what this community is all about.

Not everybody reacted badly. There has been a lot of support for Paula from some of my fellow PWD and you are awesome for that. You know who you are.

We love each other, we support each other. We are family. We all have this disease and nobody likes it, wished for it, or deserves it. Reach out your hand and help a sister out, for crying out loud!

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Catching Up

In October, I stopped eating. When I say I stopped eating, I don't mean that I completely stopped eating. I stopped eating properly. I would have a couple of slices of toast in a day. I felt sick. I woke up feeling sick. If I so much as drank water in the morning, I would throw up. My mum came up to visit me. She bought me lunch and I sat and tried to eat. Trying to eat that salad was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Eventually I couldn't stop tears running down my face as I realised that she and my sister had eaten a whole pizza and I had managed one bread stick and a couple of pieces of lettuce, and I excused myself to the bathroom because I thought I would vomit.

Food has always been one of the first things to go when I get anxious. If I have an important examination or another stressful situation, I'll skip food. Usually I manage to get some kind of sugar in me for energy, but I can't eat. I just hadn't ever felt like that for so long before.

It was a vicious cycle. The sicker I was when I ate, the less I wanted to eat. The less I ate, the more stressed I got. The more stressed I got, the sicker I felt.

Objectively, those weeks were not the worst of my life. I have had some really difficult times in my life, where really shit things have happened. But there's a difference between something happening to you and something happening in you. In October 2011, wonderful things happened to me. I started to study at one of the best universities in the world. I met some incredible new people. I was doing academically well. But something terrible happened in me.

Looking back, I have no idea how I got through. That sounds exaggerated and horribly false, but I am being truthful. I was a complete wreck, and I honestly have no idea how I made it. One day when I was at my worst, my mum called me. She told me that my grandma died. That happened to me. And somehow this awful thing - the death of somebody I loved - made something better happen in me. The week before my grandma died, I got this card from my 12 year old sister.

She was proud of me. And she was dead. And I ate. I've been fighting depression for a long time now, but the difference between the rest of my time with depression and anxiety and those weeks in October 2011 was that in October, I wasn't fighting. I had fallen, and I had no idea how I was supposed to get out of the place that I was in. I believe that my grandma gave me the strength to carry on.

I feel better right now. My last term at university was amazing and beautiful but the place in my mind was terrible. I'm only now trying to catch my mind up with the things I have achieved and the beauty of the city surrounding me.

It's still feels impossible sometimes, but I'm fighting now. I'm catching up.

NB: Like I said, I've had a depressive disorder for a very long time now, but this particular tailspin was hell. I haven't recovered and I expect that at some point I will be ready to talk about it in better detail. I think that it is important to post about things like this, though. Sometimes I feel very alone, because we are taught that this is not okay. But it's not about whether or not it's 'okay'. For me, this is an illness as much as diabetes is an illness, and I don't want anybody else to feel ashamed.

Monday 16 January 2012


Turn the music on.

Block out the feelings. Block out the memories. The smells, the illustration.

Feel the pressure and the fuzz and the confusion, and the blur build behind my skull until it becomes one big noise.

Turn the music off.


For a second. The feelings and events come flooding in, my body immersed in this cold, damp, alien feeling. It's coming back. What is this? Is this okay? I need to face this at some stage, deal with it. That panicky paranoia is poking at me now. "Hi there." *Waves awkwardly*.

It's too much. The fear is too much. I feel alone. I can't face this all by myself.

Turn the music on.

Until somebody holds my hand and shows me that it's okay to turn it off.