I hate my liver

Okay so maybe I don't hate it all the time but right now I am not too pleased. So I go to work out with a starting blood sugar of 231. Great, I can push myself and not suspend the pump. Usually that's how it goes any way. I start in the 200's and end in the low 100's after a cardio.

So, today I feel extra motivated and do a full 60 minute workout. I feel a little shaky and am thinking I went too long and dropped my sugar low. Testing to confirm, I get a strange result of 223. Ok, I think, that's strange. Maybe there is something on my hands, so I wash them. Test again.

262. WHAT? Test again.

264. The nausea kicks in and I want to throw up. I have that nice metal taste in my mouth too.

I know that what probably happened is that doing a longer work out than usual stimulated my liver to secrete the evil glycogen to help my exercising muscles and that's why its high and seems to be climbing as I type. I know that this reaction is a good thing, it means my liver is working as it should. I however see it as an evil side effect. I wanted to have a great work out and feel great and have a lowered blood sugar too. Now I only get one of those goals and it doesn't seem as satisfying because of the high.

Irritating, right?


Long lost and now forever gone.

This isn't diabetes related, but I just need to talk about it somewhere. While I usually talk about my diabetes on this blog I am changing topics today because its just something I have to do.

I lost an old friend the other day, Andrew Elhard. His funeral was Friday in Jamestown, ND. I really wanted to go but felt it wasn't my place to attend. I hadn't talked to him in a really long time. I only knew him for a short time in high school, but when I did know him he was someone that kept me stable in my ever spinning world at the time.

I can remember my life slowly falling away and Andy was right there to keep me together. He helped me with any problems I was having with my dad, which was huge at the time. He was a friend to me when few others were. He introduced me to Joe Satriani and whenever I hear Satriani I think of Andy.

He was an amazing guitar player, I always wondered if he would ever end up in a big rock band one day.

The last contact I had with Andy was the summer of 2000. I don't remember what it was about, but I do remember it caused tension between me and my boyfriend then and now, Jason. Andy married a little less than two years later. I never met her and feel bad because of that. But I knew that he was someone who wanted to start a family and that is what he did with his wife. They have two children and as I just found out from his brothers blog a third on the way. I can see how happy he would have been because that is just what he wanted when I knew him.

The strangest part for me right now is that no one in my current life has any idea of how sad it is that Andy passed away. Yea, I haven't talked to him in years. But I still have family in Jamestown, and I had hoped one day while visiting to catch up with him, meet his wife and children. Say, "Thanks for being the friend you were to me when I really needed one." And now I can't. And that makes me very sad.

I can't imagine what his wife is going through, but my heart goes out to her and her children and to his parents and brother. All I can say is that he will not be forgotten. He really did leave a mark on every person he met and I was one of them.

Good Bye Andy.

His Obituary:

Andrew "Slayer" Elhard (February 17, 1982 - December 8, 2008) Guest Book Sign Guest Book Send Private Condolences Send Flowers

Andrew Tice Elhard "Slayer", 26, Jamestown, North Dakota, died Monday, December 8, 2008 at Jamestown Hospital.

Andrew was born February 17, 1982 in Jamestown, the son of Jevon "Chevy" and Lori (Koon) Elhard. He attended schools in Jamestown, and graduated in 2000. He worked at various jobs, and met Jennifer Bjornson. They were married at his parent's home on March 17, 2002. He loved to play guitar, and to be surrounded by his family and friends. He attained second degree purple belt in karate. His current jobs were black jack dealing for the Buffalo Foundation and working at Super Pumper.

Andrew is survived by his wife, Jennifer; daughter, Adia Lynn; son, Bain, all of Jamestown; his parents, Jevon and Lori Elhard, Jamestown; and half-brother, Jeremiah Wehler, Richardson, TX. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Andrew and Ardena Elhard and his maternal grandparents, Virgil "Bud" and Eva Koon, all of Jamestown.

Funeral Service: 2:00 PM, Friday, December 12, 2008 at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Jamestown, with Rev. Gary Ball-Kilborne and Pastor Bruce Adams officiating. Visitation: 1:00 to 8:00 PM, Thursday, December 11, 2008 at the Eddy Funeral Home in Jamestown, ND. Burial: Highland Home Cemetery, Jamestown, ND. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Andrew's children. On line guestbook: http://www.eddyfuneralhome.com/


6206 days

Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of being diagnosed with type one diabetes. I celebrated by having my car towed, working, and doing a weeks worth of dishes at home. Jason got guitar hero and cookies. Somehow this seems unfair. But that could be because I am tired.

The years haven't taken their toll on me yet. My A1c has definitely seen its ups and downs. But my kidneys are good, as are my eyes and toes. Lets hope that is the same outlook in another 17 years.



I am unmotivated at the moment. And unable to fall asleep. Somehow I feel as though this is all tied to diabetes. Is it possible to go through multiple diabetes funks in a year? What about every other month?

Sometimes that is how it goes with my concern for diabetes care. One month I am on top of it and things are smooth sailing. And others just aren't. What if that lasts for more than a few weeks? What if it turns into MULTIPLE months where your diabetes care just isn't up to par? What does that mean?

I keep asking myself that. I keep wondering if others go for extended times where it just doesn't seem possible to keep caring about the CARE of diabetes. Checking, bolusing, re-checking, exercising, checking before, during, and after exercise, not wanting to exercise, not being able to exercise because of a low, not wanting to test, not wanting to eat because it means that you have to test, blous, and test again after 2 hours and maybe do a correction bolus or handle a low. Not wanting to worry and calculate all the individual steps that go into that damn sandwich because bread just so happens to have carbs and depending on what kind of bread that could mean A LOT of carbs or nothing too damaging. Calculating. I feel like I am calculating all the time for this damn disease and for working it into my life.

And always, every minute of the day its there. It doesn't go away; it doesn't take a break even when I am taking one. Yea, I may not want to test or cover for that latte or mocha, but an hour later I sure feel its effects and must do something about it. It seems like even coffee with a little creamer will cause a 60 point jump in my blood sugar, and I end up testing and correcting and spending more time and effort than had I just avoided the damn thing altogether. Is there nothing I can do that diabetes won't catch me at? Even not eating catches up with me and I end up low and resisting the juice because the thought of more juice makes my stomach churn some days.

I feel trapped and cornered. And I know how I got there. I put myself there. See, even when ranting about diabetes there is always that responsibility and guilt that comes with it. My actions dictate my control and my well being. Knowing that, why is it so f-ing hard to do the right actions by my health? I can come up with many excuses, and trust me there are many with all that is going on this semester with work, school and life, but all it boils down to is me. My actions, my care, my diabetes, my mistakes walked me into that corner, just me.

In an earlier post I set up some exercise goals which I am keeping, but it just seems to have caused even more of a diabetes constraint than not working out. I am beginning to feel defeated. I have no conclusions about this, about any of it. I can name a few options that are all very good and valid suggestions, none of which I am motivated to act on. And I am back, facing that corner turning between two walls and not realizing how to back out into normal again.



Okay, a little background information. I am not the greatest person when it comes to changing out my infusion sets EVERY three days. I don't go through a reservoir every three days, not even close. More like every five days, some times six. This morning when I woke up it was five and a half days on my current reservoir and infusion set. And that's just how it goes. Usually by day 5 I am getting the "low reservoir" alert and the effectiveness of the insulin isn't all that great but it still works.

Well this morning I woke up in complete body aches. I didn't know for sure what this was from because I had a strength training workout on Sunday and am still a little sore from it. So I drag myself out of bed and immediately reach for my thyroid medication and a cup of coffee. In typical bad Bamses habit I gather my books and head out the door to get to class. I can't be late for class, the professor yells when people come in late.

Once I get to class 10 minutes early, I test and discover what I was fearing - 321. Uggg. Groaning I program it into my bolus wizard giving myself 1.5 units more knowing that I was on older insulin and what usually would work may not be enough now. There that's done with and I wait to feel better. Class starts and I keep waiting. Its a 75 minute lecture, I figure by the end I should feel a little better, right?

As lecture goes on my aches get worse and I get a severe headache. I feel nauseous, dizzy and as though there is metal running through my blood vessels instead of blood and aluminum in my mouth (does any one else get a weird metal taste in their mouth when their sugar is high??). 45 minutes into lecture I test again, the insulin should have brought me down by now and if not then something is wrong. Sure enough - 324. Why didn't the insulin work? I sigh and bolus 5 more units against the recommendation of the bolus wizard. Clearly my old insulin isn't as effective as it was 5 days ago.

Lecture ends and I head home knowing that I may have to take a shot of insulin and change my infusion set. I get home, positive I was going to throw up my morning coffee and knowing I needed to test again. Five seconds later - 370. WHAT THE HELL?!?!
Furious, I rip out the infusion set and find this -
Kinked? Kinked? After 5 days, nearly 6 days and my site gets kinked? HUH??

I have no idea how it happened. I do know that I kept getting snagged in my pump cord last night and maybe in that sleepy-tangle I pulled it out a little, or enough to then make the cannula kink after returning to my side.

Now back at a nice 84 blood sugar that sluggish, full body ache is gone and my circulation feels normal, as does the taste in my mouth. Thank god.

I am trying out a new site location and hope that it won't cause so much tangle in my sleep. Usually I use my thighs but I was inspired to try a new site after this morning's kinking issues. Here goes!


Baad Bamses

I have been dating my current beau, Jason, for the past 20 months and, while there have been some terrible moments at the beginning, lately things have been really good. There is a lot of history between Jason and I. We dated in high school and for our first year in college (that I didn't finish) and on and off since until, well 20 months ago. Now is the time that I think we are for real, now is when I think things are meant to be and we are both putting in equal effort to finally be in a relationship that matters more than movie and dinner.

Its very neat for me to be able to say that he is someone I have known since I was seventeen and has been there for everything since, even when I couldn't be there for my self and didn't know how much his presence mattered to me. It took a lot to get there though. This didnt' just happen overnight one day where things just started working between us, oh no. It happened when I opened my eyes and realized that maybe I didn't have to keep all my thoughts to myself and that maybe telling him whats in my head, as crazy as it may be, would bring us closer. Silly huh, realizing that communication brings people closer?

I know it sounds silly and almost high school-ish. It was really hard for me to trust him though. Not just him but people in general I just don't like sharing parts of myself with. I have tried that before and always got burned, as recently as two years ago. I think that was why trusting Jason was so hard at first. Because I didn't want to show my emotions and deepest concerns and have to experience the pain that comes when a person later takes that information and uses it against you. In past relationships and friendships when there is an argument it always seems that people go right to my weaknesses that they only knew because I shared it with them.

After enough hurt I learned that sometimes its better to not share than to share and have it held against me later.

I had to break that thinking in order to get where I am now with Jason. I had to. I still have to. I know I shouldn't go around telling everyone my past mistakes and my current fears, but finally I think I have found that person who I can share that with and not worry that it will be held against me later.

Sometimes I picture what he will say before I tell him something. Like last night when I had a hard day at work and burst into tears on my lunch. I knew I needed to talk to someone who would help remove me from my sadness. I didn't honestly know if he would do that. He doesn't quite know what I do and how things work. I am still figuring those things too! But I called him, told him what happened and why I was upset and he did what he always does, talked me off my emotional ledge. Calmed me down.

After work I went back to my place, not his apartment and tried to settle down for sleep. I thought about the day and how things went and what I should/should not have done. I thought that there were more things I should tell Jason, about how I have been feeling lately with school and diabetes.

One thing I should have told him just 5 minutes ago when we spoke on the phone is how I hadn't tested all day yesterday. In fact I hadn't tested until I absolutely had to because the words in the book I was reading before bed became wavy and unfocused. When I stood up I felt like I was walking through water and momentairly thought I should call my sister who was asleep upstairs to get her help, but I didn't. Instead I tripped my way to the stash of candy left over from the pinata at my nephew's 2nd birthday and grabbed some tootsie rolls. While chewing two I searched for my glucometer and went to test only to discover that I had run out of strips and forgot to replace them. The vial of strips were still outside in my car instead of in my case. Panicking, I decided that I would just treat the low and let it be. But it just didn't seem right, so I used an old meter that uses the same test strips as the new medtronic glucometer that works with their pump (One Touch Ultra Smart, which I haven't used in about two and a half years).

Side note: right now most of my meters are at Jason's apartment as that is where I spend most of my time. I had gotten a bunch of One Touch test strips delivered from Medtronic in July but the meter was not with me as I was still using their old BD meter (with the overly large vials).

Testing on the old meter with the new strips while still chewing the the tootsie rolls I got a low number I haven't seen in a long time. 37. It could have been wrong so I checked the expiration of the strips and that the codes matched. They weren't expired and the codes matched. I went upstairs and had some juice. And some graham crackers with peanut butter (a favorite snack of mine). And some potatoe salad.

I over-corrected. A lot. I knew I over corrected. I think I did so not only from the low but also from the bad work day. By the time I had that low I hadn't eaten for over 12 hours and was absolutely starving.

Here's the kicker. I haven't tested all day today either. I can feel this diabetes funk happening. This life funk happening and I don't know how to help it. I am sticking to my working out idea thankfully, and while my energy has had a boost the past few days my motivation hasn't. Its as though my physical symptoms have become emotional ones too now. I need to find a way to help those too.

Talking to Jason will help. Before I can start with him I need to start with my self and ask some questions and give honest answers. But I can just hear what he will say. He has this habit of calling me Bams or Bamses (a weird twist on Amber). I find it helps me to know he isn't being serious. When I take this diabetes funk to him tonight I can hear "Baad Bamses!" and then a serious question following, "How can I help?"

I am trying to figure that out myself.


Tried and Tired

I have been very tired lately. I knew I had a thyroid issue from my endo last year but never felt the effects of it until now. Last year I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and prescribed medication to treat it which I never took. After spending nearly all of August dead tired I decided that maybe I should start taking the medication and see if it would help with the constant fatigue. Which it did, for a little while. Even now, after taking it for nearly three weeks, I am still very tired a lot of the time. My muscles ache and waking up seems to be the most difficult thing of the day, not to mention falling asleep is at times equally as hard.

There have been too many changes lately to know what exactly is adding to this tired feeling. Is it a more physical job? Working later than I have worked in the last 2.5 years? Starting a yoga class and a full college course load? Trying to exercise more? Not getting enough fruits and veggies or protein? Is is the blood sugar swings that I have been having for the last 5 weeks? Sigh, see what I mean, there are a lot of reasons I could be tired.

And I am nearly too tired to try and figure out which one it is. I am guessing, really, really guessing that it is the change in schedule and routine. I am only working part time on the weekends. During the week I have classes but there is a lot of down time that I have during the day and I am nearly beside my self with what to do. I know I should be studying or cleaning or organizing but a lot of the time I am surfing the Internet or reading a magazine or wandering on campus aimlessly. Not very productive tasks in other words.

So, this is the proposal I have to myself to deal with the tiredness. Apply to join a leadership institute and a nursing club that meet regularly during the week. That way I have a set task to do that will give me a break in studying and also help improve my leadership skills and understanding of the nursing program. I am going to try to make it to the gym Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday as those days I do not have yoga and three of the four days I do not work. I hear exercise is a cure for always being tired. So here goes.

I always say I am going to blog more, but who knows about that...my trend isn't that good with blogging. Which is very funny to me. I used to write all the time and now its like pulling teeth to get my thoughts out. It has something to do with feelings of incompetence, being extremely self conscious and not wanting to be overly negative. I find that I am a naturally pessimistic person when it comes to personal matters, and I don't think that people want to always read negative reports.

There is a hand out that I was given to help with those thoughts titled "The 7 Pillars of Mindfulness" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Has anyone heard of it before? Well the pillars are basically principals that you use during meditation to help with stress reduction (in a nut-shell). I thought just for fun I would see if anyone else has heard of them. What did you think?

I will try to post them here shortly (right now the handout is buried somewhere...). That's all I have for now. Adieu.


Sans Insurance

A new chapter in my life is starting right now, and I have to admit I am completely terrified.

I needed to leave my full time job. I couldn't manage the stress anymore, and I was crying every other day because of something that would happen at work. It was not a place that made me feel fulfilled, or appreciated, or respected even. I began to doubt myself and my strengths as a person. Every day was an emotional battle where I would walk into work going, "What will happen today? What else I am not doing well enough?" It was bad. It makes me feel better about my decision to leave because having felt that way for a long time was exhausting and its relieving to know that after today (Wednesday) I won't have to feel that stress and pressure to be perfect anymore; I can be myself again.

I had thought this through for a long time and lined up a part time nursing assistant position at a nursing home not far from home. I am excited to start working as a CNA but also worried. As a part time CNA I do not qualify for health benefits at this nursing home.

I have always had health insurance. The places I worked for always offered it to employees and I always enrolled in it. There was a brief period of time when I did not have health insurance, but that was because I enrolled at the wrong time due to old enrollment material; a quick petition to our benefits coordinator solved that. I think all in all I went 45 days with out coverage and they were some of the most stressful days ever. I was so scared that one day I would run out of insulin and die. Right then and there, poof, no insulin, and you get a dead Amber. It was a silly fear, but so powerful none the less. I wonder if other diabetics feel the same ways at times.

Reguardless, I am still looking for a position with a company who will offer benefits to PT employees, but I am not sure how long it will take. With my current planning I am thinking 6 to 9 months. I have consulted with my endo, and filled all my prescriptions to the extent I am able to and am researching insulin assistance programs through Novo Nordisk, which I believe I will qualify for. I have so much extra pump supplies I think I am easily covered for 9 months with out needing new supplies. And I have slowly been buying extra test strips out of pocket as I have extra money now and will probably not have extra money later in the year. Oh yea, in addition to going from working 40 hours a week down to 8-16 hours a week I am also going to be earning a lot less per hour as a CNA. So I expect things to get tight pretty soon. But I have thought it though, I have planned for this. And reducing my work load will significantly help me this fall when I am in school full time to wrap up an associate in arts degree and the nursing pre-requisits. So in the end I know this will be for the best and I will end up okay. I am still scared though.

Even with all this planning and research and knowing that my endo has offered to give me vials if I need them and can just come pick them up if I call ahead; I am absolutely terrified. I keep getting the "What ifs?".

What if I get into a car accident?
What if I get the flu this winter?
What if I get an infection that wont go away?
What if I have a seizure and need medical assistance?

All these things, especially the seizure idea, scares me to my bones. Has anyone else done something this crazy? Knowingly gone with out medical coverage for an extended period of time?

I am making goals of working out more, eating much lower carb foods, and blogging more on this endeavor of working less, with out insurance. Heres to that, and knowing that this period in my life is not forever and always trying to remember that this too shall pass.

(hopefully sooner rather than later)


My imaginary fiction

I am finishing up a medical terminology online course right now and I did something I am not sure I am comfortable with.

I shared that I was type one diabetic.

Is that weird that I felt REALLY uncomfortable typing that in one of the discussions? I feared what they would think. That they would automatically assume my reaction to the "Why would a 14 year old with T1 skip their injections?" discussion was biased (okay it may have been, but really who knows better than one who has lived with it??). And I avoided sharing that I have T1 diabetes as long as possible for the same reason, that my views would be discredited because I live with a chronic condition and therefore am to close to see the situation clearly. Which led me to ask, "Am I?"

I do a lot of things and believe a lot of things because I have type one diabetes. I support stem cell research (in general, conducted in a moral way) because I want the chance to find a cure. I am more conscientious of what I eat because of what the food can do to my blood sugar. I am intensely interested in endocrinology because of diabetes. I have a profound respect for doctors and nurses. I empathize with kids diagnosed with any condition. And these last four things are where things get fuzzy, is that because of me or because of the me I am due to diabetes. They are so hard to separate!

So when it comes to health care and opinions, I ask and worry, "Am I too close to my own disease to be able to work in the field?" Which then leads to the question, "How do I ensure my diabetes isn't what is seen instead of myself?"

Its very different sharing my disease with someone sitting across from me than sharing it with an unknown class of "someones". Even face to face there are so many misconceptions about diabetes. I know I just need to breathe, relax and realize that in the end its OK I shared my disease with the students in the course. Not everyone imposes judgements, and in fact, most of these students are going into nursing for the very same reasons I am, to make a difference, to help others.

I still feel exposed. I guess that's something I will have to become more comfortable with, sharing this with peers in or going into health care. Slowly, one breath at a time.


Silent all these ... Months

So there has been a lot going on and blogging went to the wayside, but I've been itching to write again and what better a time than on a gray, thunderstorm day in MN when summer should be in full swing!?!

(outside of Caribou Coffee on Lexington in Roseville; the thunderstorm was not in full swing when I took this and no, neither car is mine, I am not sure whose they are)

Yes, it is raining here in MN and I have to say, quickly, that I adore thunderstorms! While driving in them is never fun everything else is: watching them, running in them, trying to stay dry when there is no chance in hell you can, seeing the lightening and counting the seconds for the thunder FUN FUN FUN. Whew, okay, now that thunderstorm love is out of my system...

So the spring semester ended 3 weeks ago. It took a lot of studying and relaxing but I finally did something I have never done before - working full time and all As in my courses. I was ecstatic when I saw my final grade in anatomy & physiology and a smile was on my face...well even now!

After the end of spring semester I had a week off before summer started, which I used to get my wisdom teeth pulled. Ugg! I hope to avoid getting a tooth pulled ever again. I am still suffering from "tooth" aches during the healing process and can't wait for the sockets to be fully healed. I had a bad time with the oral surgeon for a time after the teeth were pulled but now that its done I am pleased that I will never have to see him again and good riddance!

There have been a lot things that I wanted to blog about but never got to so this is going to be a purge of all those things. Last March I had my A1c tested again, and it wasn't as good as it was in December. After spending all of 2007 with an A1c under 7 it jumped back up in March to 7.3 and I was disappointed but prepared for that as the first three months of the year were so packed with work, school and training to be a CNA. Since then though I noticed I didn't want to tell anyone, didn't want to update my profile on TuDiabetes with my new number, didn't want to talk about it.

I find it interesting how one small change can take all my hard work and make it feel pointless. I was disappointed that I couldn't keep my A1c under 7 during times of stress and upset to think that maybe I need to accept that when things are super scheduled for me diabetes control will be harder to keep in check. At the end of this month I have another A1c lab scheduled and I have that same feeling, its going to be in the 7s floating higher than I want it to be. A lot of times I take results to heart more than I should, and I know this yet I still let a relatively "good" A1c drag me down. I start doubting my self and my abilities with care and then it spills over to other things like when I see that pile of books still in my back seat and taunting me daily that I never put them away, is this a trend in my life that I am uncontrolled and unorganized in general, like my A1c results say? Why is it that for me an A1c result that isn't under 7 makes me a "bad" person? And am I the only one who thinks these things about their diabetes control also determining the person they are?

I spent so many years away from diabetes. Not the disease but the act of caring for it, keeping it in the foreground vs. the background, talking about it, sharing it, hearing other people's stories about it; now I've done a 180 where, if not daily then at least once or twice a week I need to get my fill. To see where other people are at, read over the blogs of people going through exactly what I go through and feel more sane, see that I am not the only one, and I think for that brief moment, "Its OK, we all get upset at our control, even if its really good. There are always frustrations."

And then I pause. Stop. Think again.

There are always frustrations. There are always frustrations. Don't diabetics have a right to live a day with out frustrations? Don't I deserve a day with out frustrations, with out stereotypes about my life style, age, height and weight, the constant check list of diabetes related concerns that can come up? I can't imagine it. I can't. I know that things go smoothly with diabetes from personal experience and of course other people blogging about it. But what if? What if?

Lately I have been asking these questions and getting the strong desire to help, to make a difference in type one diabetes care, to help kids, start a MN support group, create a commercial about diabetes and our needs and rights to research that could potentially give us a cure. SOMETHING. I even have a song picked out and ideas of the scripting that would be used and the images displayed to reach out to other diabetics and to encourage people to know about diabetes and care about finding a cure, raising the funds needed for research. But I have been very motivated in my mind and less motivated in action. And that's OK. It isn't as though I am sitting around not doing anything. I just want to find a way to do more but not overwhelm my self as I must get through school.

So, I am looking at changing careers hoping to find a part time or 3/4 time CNA job in a hospital. I am thinking of how I can create this "commercial" (which in reality would be just a little video clip that me and some friends edit) in time for next years Raise Your Voice for Type One Diabetes awareness day. I have a few friends who are more savvy with computers and videos than I am, but I don't know much about rights and if I can use the song I want to use for a personal video that I put on my blog or YouTube or how that works. And that just leaves a support group. I know everyone is busy but if anyone in MN wants to do a MN meet & greet for bloggers or just people with diabetes looking for support I am all for it. Email me, leave a comment if you know of such a group, or if you are interested in setting up anything let me know; I'm willing to help.

That's about it for now. Summer session is in full swing. I am taking an online course through the rest of this month, medical terminology. And in July I start physical geography and medical dosages. If I do well in these classes all the more chance I have of getting accepted into the nursing program next Fall or Spring.

I am serious about the meet and greet idea too, so let me know! I may not be that up on posting blogs but I am all about events so bring on the ideas and lets plan something!


Raise Your Voice Type One Diabetes!

I have type one diabetes. I was diagnosed December 7th 1991, two months after my 9th birthday. I remember very little about being diagnosed. I remember I was sick, and that the days before my Mom brought me into the hospital I was refusing to eat anything because I was so thirsty. I vaguely remember my Mom offering me a bowl of cereal and I drank the milk, said I was "done", walked off, and I heard her say, "Amber, you didn't EAT it!" in exasperation. I remember she was trying everything she could to get food in me.

I, like a lot of T1 diagnosed in childhood, thought I merely had the flu, as did my Mom. But after two weeks my Mom was getting concerned, as this wasn't a normal kind of flu. I hadn't eaten in a long time, but I was still throwing up and had collapsed in the bathroom after a vomiting fit. So my Mom brought me to the emergency room at Children's hospital in St. Paul, MN.

What I remember of the hospital is a combination of memory and created memories from what my Mom has told me. My Mom fully thinks thinks I couldn't remember anything because I quickly slipped into a coma after being admitted. But there is this one image in my mind that is so strong I wonder if it isn't real. I remember getting to the hospital and immediately being into a room and laying down in "anatomical position" because there were so many people poking me trying to get blood. I didn't feel the needles, and didn't know why it was so bad that they couldn't get my blood.

My Mom was in a chair next to the bed on my right, and she was crying. She said something about them poking me so much and I said, "Its OK Mom." Then that's it. That's all I remember about my diagnosis. It wasn't until I was older that I realized I didn't remember much because I slipped into a coma.

I think my Mom kept that from me to simplify my disease, but also because I think she feels guilty. Three days before she brought me into the hospital she was in a bad car crash so we were both home sick, and she told me just today that she was trying to care for me with out having to go to the ER. She was all black and blue from the crash, literally. She looked like a human raccoon with deep black circles under her eyes, and bruises down her body. I think she also had a broken nose.

When I think about the emotional pain this disease has brought me and my family that's what tightens my throat and causes tears to well in my eyes. Diabetes doesn't just make my life a constant balance act, it extends its grasp of worry and fear to my Mom, Step Dad, sister, significant other, and close friends. If you know me, you know I think about it all the time and you know that some days I don't want to think about it. I don't want to be on a balance beam all the time.

And while this is MY disease to battle, those who care about me battle the worry that one day the obstacles won't be in my favor. And that isn't fair. It isn't fair that not only do I worry about complications but that everyone I love does too. I know thats how it works when you love someone, but the fact that its TYPE ONE diabetes that does this, how it reaches everyone not only the person being diagnosed, its THAT which is painful.

For all their love and support I am thankful. I couldn't do it everyday with out them. For my Mom, who bears too much worry, I am thankful. For all mothers and fathers who have children with type one diabetes, and people who support someone with T1 diabetes I want to thank them because your love and support make it possible to manage this crappy disease.

There are a lot of things we can talk about today on why type one needs its own day for awareness. I am all about our own day. As is my Mom, Step Dad, sister, boyfriend, and close friends. We all know why Type One awareess is important and are talking about the difference at each chance. Today and for days to come.


My logo

So I didn't win but I am still proud of my little sketch I produced for Kerri's Type One Diabetes Awareness "Raise Your Voice" logo contest and thought I should share it. I have no idea how to create a digital image and am terrible at drawing, so for me this was challenging indeed! I loved taking part though, and really liked all the logo's submitted. So here is my little pride and joy from this contest:

Go check out the winner !! There are also some sweet T shirts, buttons and magnets with the winning logo on it that you can order to show your support .

Participating in the logo contest gave me a chance to blab to everyone around me about Type One diabetes, why we need our own day for awareness, and what is the difference anyway. That alone was very fulfilling for me because by speading the word I felt like I was making a bit of a difference, all be it with only those who are friends, family, or co-workers.

Monday April 14th is a day to Raise Your Voice for Type One diabetes awareness. I am all hyped up working on a good blog to post that day, and I am excited to show my support by wearing one of those awesome t-shirts!

Yay for diabetes awareness!! And thank you Kerri for this fun contest!!



So this week is a crazy week. Its the week of mid-terms at Century College. I have known about this week for the past 7 weeks but still seem to be a little thrown off by how much really is going on. Let me just rant a little about what is being served this week in the life of Amber.

To begin its the last week of my nursing assistant course and we had our last classroom session Monday night. This morning I had a lab test for my anatomy & physiology class (which I just found out I didn't do so hot on boo!), and in about two hours I have my first of two clinical days needed for the nursing assistant certification. Our clinical is expected to be over with at 11:30 tonight. Tomorrow morning, bright and early, its up and at 'em for A&P at 7:30, off to work until 7, meeting with a study group for A&P at 7:30 until 9:30 although I will probably stay and study solo for another hour just because I really need to get all the study hours that I can. Thursday I have my second day of clinical from 2:30 -11:30pm (the morning which will be spent studying for A&P because on Friday we have our mid-term, also bright and early at 7:30 am. Somewhere between now and Saturday afternoon I also need to write a 4 - 6 page paper analyzing the film Billy Elliot and how it relates to interpersonal communication.


I feel a little insane today and writing about it really helps, so here I am taking a little breather from studying and running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Fortunately after this week things will get a lot better for my A&P class; I will have an extra 8 hours a week to devote to studying for it because of the nursing assistant course being over with. Yay! I made it through the first 8 weeks of this semester working full time and trying to do way too much and I am still getting good grades. Here is the concern though, and its always the concern. Diabetes.

I was having a big problem with random lows, and to help with that I dramatically changed my basal rates, and began using the CGMS as much as I can take. I told my doctor I would rather be constantly correcting for a high than worrying about a low. And of course it seems like that has been whats going on. I have been correcting highs, not having very many lows. Now when I say "highs" I don't mean in the 300's or even the upper 200's. But there have definately been more low 200s and upper 100s glucose test results than I'd prefer, and I am worried that my A1c will be back over 7 where I don't want it to be. I will find out at the end of the month what the past semester and basal rate change has done to my A1c. I know if its over 7 I can get it back down. I guess I just want to know that I can manage a hectic life for a short period of time and somehow, maybe with a little bit of magic, keep my diabetes in good control.

I have always been really bad at keeping it controlled under a lot of stress and have always wondered how other T1 diabetics managed life and college and diabetes. Did you give up something, take a lighter course load, work fewer hours? How did you cope? How did you manage it??

I don't know; it isn't really bad. I am not falling into a depression or crying spells, but I can't deny the pessure and mild panic I feel right now.

A lot of the coping strategies I am using I often wish I had the wisdom to use them first time around when I started college right out of high school: know when to ask for help, know my limits, and never, ever let diabetes get the better of me. If its one bad day of blood sugars remind myself that it can be managed, and tomorrow will be better. And its OK that things don't go as planned.

So here's to good studying the next few days! And if anyone has suggestions of what got you through the crazy times in life for you please let me know!


whew, what a ride!

This week started my first week back to college for Spring semester. Already I feel a mess. My sleep schedule is all off, my work week is different from what it's been for four and a half months and all of this shows in my mood and my work performance. It hasn't hit my diabetes, yet.

And thats the thing about diabetes isn't it? So often I feel like I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop and cause complete and utter chaos in my life.

I feel like I try to explain that to people and it doesn't sink in. I can be on top of my school work, getting to work, doing well in all other areas of my life despite the sleep deprivaton and I can rest assred that at least those things I am on top of. But diabetes, that tricky little bastard, I never feel that way with it. I never feel like it will be okay, and in fact it only feels more out of control as my stress level goes up (even if that isn't true).

It taunts me in my sleep telling me to get up and treat a low, at work after a stressful call sent my sugar went from 130 to 190 in minutes with no food or drink, as I am leaving work and dropping because I studied over lunch instead of ate, it just taunts me and wears on me and makes all that other stress seem so much worse than it really is.

So often I hear from people with type 2 say, "It doesn't really affect me much. I take my pills/shots, maybe I drink more or pee more but thats it." and I get quizzical looks as to why diabetes, of all things, drives me to tears, anger and exhaustion when its just an extra trip to the bathroom for some. I just want to say at the top of my lungs, "TYPE ONE IS DIFFERENT THAN TYPE TWO! COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!"

I do wonder what it would be like having type two. I am sure that there are a whole new set of concerns and complications that I'm ignorant to. I still feel alone with my disease and frustrated at my battles being identified as the same battles as a person with type two. So it goes, the constant battle for understanding, but I digress...

This morning at 9am after class I felt on top of the world and thought that maybe I could really do this crazy work and school schedule afterall. Then started the high/low hills and emotionally I've hit bottom even while my blood sugar runs high.

Whew. Now that I've ranted a bit I do feel better. Isn't that strange how typing about a bad or stressful day can feel so good?

Love it while it lasted. Thats what I did for three wonderful weeks after finals. LOVED the reduction of stress, the increase of sleep, the feeling that I can be a good employee again. The feeling I can even be a good student as I got great grades last semester (yay!). It was wonderful, but it didn't last. Boo.

Yawn. Work day is wrapping up and with school this morning it has been a long day. Nite folks.