Mama Always Said...Life is Like a Box of Diabetic Supplies

Two men look out from the same bars.
One sees the mud,
The other, the stars.
— Unknown

This verse, whose author is unknown, expresses optimism as a way of life.

This is how the beginning of my speech began. A speech written by my friend and classmate, Sarah, and me. We wrote it, I gave it and we received 3rd place in the district's Academic Olympics. Boo yah.

That was in 6th grade.

It's funny how we can recall words, lyrics and poems so many years later (I will not tell you HOW many years later). It is still a good message. I needed to remember this speech as I stared at the unopened cardboard box that was sitting on my kitchen counter-and had been-for days. Sure, it was just a box. A box that I actually gave permission to be sent. A box that contained supplies that cost ALOT of cashiolio (goodbye, summer vaca). 

I took a deep breath, grabbed a pair of scissors to cut the mailing tape and opened the box that held the next phase of my diabetic life.

Let me set the stage by going back to a conversation that occurred a few weeks ago:

Dr: So...how long have you had your current infusion set in?

Me: I change it every 3-4 days.

Dr: Wrong. This one has been in for 7 days.

And so it goes. That is just a sample of the conversation I had with my new diabetic doctor, a specialist known as an endocrinologist. After several referrals (thanks, Divas!), I made an appointment to see if he could help me improve my blood sugar levels. My first appointment involved handing over my insulin pump and meter when I checked in (it made me feel like a scene from a police show or movie when the police officer hands over his/her weapon and badge). Heitert. Laura Heitert.

When I met with the doctor, he did a brief exam and then started firing questions at me, like the one above. OK, folks, I am a realist and I will own things when I need to, but as I prepared for this appointment, I wasn't sure about the treatment he would recommend. I held off reordering supplies-reservoirs, insulin sets, etc. I mean, come on, I wanted to make sure I needed to reorder the supplies...I receive 3 months worth at a time! So, when I changed my infusion set and filled my reservoir with insulin the last time before my appointment, I filled that mutha to the max so it would last. 

Anyhoo, the new doctor kept the same list of supplies but he wanted to add equipment. Seriously? With an insulin pump already attached at the hip, literally, I realized that I needed to do research to find a wagon to pull all of my diabetic supplies. 

I had a follow up appointment one week ago and I was trained on how to use my new Dexcom G4 Platinum Continuous Glucose Monitoring System. Say what?! Basically, we inserted the sensor and transmitter that will be changed every 7 or so days. Then, I was trained on how to use the receiver which shows blood sugar levels within predetermined high and low ranges. Arrows indicate whether my blood sugar levels are going up, down or staying the same.  There are even the dreaded 2 arrows pointing up and the word HIGH that appear. We didn't talk much about this feature but I pretty much feel like I need to run away or duck-and-tuck if these symbols appear. 

I have had the sensor/transmitter/receiver for a week now. I need to change the sensor soon which causes me some anxiety. I plan to watch the how-to video. Sure, there's a manual, but I think I need to grow extra hands to be able to hold all of the equipment AND turn the pages. A video sounds more doable. 

One challenge is fighting low blood sugar levels. My new doctor increased the amount of insulin my pump delivers and I have tightened control of my blood sugar by counting carbohydrates again. I find that my lil receiver is telling me that I'm low (I HEAR AND FEEL YOU!) quite often. I ran yesterday for the first time with the equipment. It went ok minus the sudden rain downpour which threatened my non-waterproof equipment (Thanks, neighbor, for letting me hide in your garage til it passed). 

I'm also adjusting to how the receiver must always be on my person (I love that saying). This means clothes with pockets. This also means if I am going 20ish feet away from the receiver I need to take it with me or it will unhappily tell me I'm out of range. If I'm out of range the receiver will produce a variety of beeps and buzzing. The buzzing and vibrating took some getting used to (I KNOW I'M LOW, NOW SHUT IT!).

All in all, I am adjusting. My hubby calls me bionic. I call myself a lot of things, but I avoid terms such as bummed or weary. I try to be positive. As the saying goes, Mama always said life is like a box of (sugar free) chocolates...you never know what you're gonna get.

In this case, I know what the box of diabetic supplies will give me...

A. better blood sugar readings  B. the ability to exercise and teach PE  C. a longer, healthier life

I'll take option D, ALL OF THE ABOVE!

The 6th grade speech writers, 1986.

The 6th grade speech writers, 1986.