Taking control back

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Some days I really feel like a miserable failure at controlling my diabetes! Being sick the last few weeks with a bad infection and having to go on antibiotics, steroids and anti-inflammatories have really taken a toll on my blood sugar. Before all this, I was starting to get some control back. I was doing good enough that I was down to 10 units of long-acting insulin at night after starting Glumetza. I was told at that point that if I could get down to 10 units and maintain an A1C within range of 5.6 to 6 then I could come off the insulin altogether and I did it!

Now though my Freestyle Libre is now estimating my AIC to be in the 7.9 range and climbing. It’s amazing how one infection over a 2 week period can throw everything off so much. I have to admit that even before getting sick I was starting to slip. I had switched from using my Libre reader to the new android app using my phone and NFC as it uploads directly to Libreview cutting out some extra steps. At some point, I stopped bothering to scan and was only doing it once a day instead of at least every 8 hours as needed to capture 100% of the data and get all the proper charts and everything else. On top of that, I was missing doses of Glumetza as I would just forget to take it. So really this started before getting sick but getting sick has just made it get out of hand.

I know I need to get that control back. I just don’t have a clue how. I have been careful the last few days to ensure I am taking my Glumetza each day since I am also on a ton of other meds (5 other prescriptions at the moment, 9 in total over the last two weeks). I am really struggling though. It’s as simple as scanning my sensor to capture the data. I don’t know why that’s so hard to remember. I am not using my glucometer at all either. I haven’t pricked my fingers at all in weeks to even see if the Libre is working correctly beyond one finger prick when inserting a new sensor.

So overall my control has become very poor again and to make matters worse today I find out my new drug plan does not cover Glumetza at all in either its brand name or generic forms and so I am now going to have to either go back on insulin, or switch back to Metformin, which was causing major stomach issues, or be switched to something else altogether. I guess it means going back to the table and re-looking at everything. I can not afford $114 every three months for it. So something will have to give. Maybe going back in insulin is the best thing? I mean at least it would allow me more control, right?

I know I can’t beat myself up too much about the actual numbers right now as first Prednisone and then Dexamethasone has really raised them through no fault of my own, not to mention the other meds. But I really need to be scanning my sensor at least every 8 hours or even better, before and an hour or two after meals and double-checking a bit more often with test strips. I can’t even remember the last time I bought any test strips. I have been on the same pack for almost a year. I have a ton of needles, lancets, test strips all just lying around not being used. I got a little too comfy with the Libre and not looking beyond the AIC to the actual numbers.

I don’t even want to talk about meals… right no I am on a soft food diet and have been for 2 weeks and will be another 1-2 weeks most likely. So I am really struggling cause it is all carbs, starches and sugary stuff. Even though I know it doesn’t have to be I just don’t have the energy to cook and have been so sick that I am unable to stand for any periods of time and so I am eating ready-made sugary things which is not helping at all. I can’t even stand up long enough to do a couple of dishes so cooking is out of the question.

Once all this stuff is over with my tooth, jaw, and face I am really really going to need to take back some control and once I am feeling better start figuring out some meal prep once I am back to work. All stuff I needed to do anyways since I royally suck at it. I suppose I should give myself a break and chalk this all up getting so out of hand to being ill but I kind of feel like a failure anyways and it’s bugging me so much and making me really frustrated and mad.

Pain, Hospitals & TMI

I’m going to apologize in advance as this post may contain a little too much information. I admit sometimes I feel a little bit embarrassed or hesitant to talk about certain things, however that being said I feel it’s important to talk about women’s issues and health and it’s my blog and my life and what I’m going through so if you’re a bit squeamish, don’t like talking/reading about women’s health issues this post might not be for you.  So don’t say I didn’t warn you

This is also going to be really long! So, I’m going to jump right in.  As a teen, I had heavy, uncomfortable, painful periods that happened more often and lasted longer than most other girls my age. At 15, I suffered from numerous cysts on my ovaries that ruptured leaving me doubled over in pain, throwing up, feeling clammy with a high heart rate. I had numerous trips to the ER but luckily no surgery was ever needed. I was never diagnosed with PCOS but it was mentioned when I was younger.

Maybe that should have been a clue but I was always told that despite that it was normal and that as I got older it would even out. The cycle would get longer between, the periods lighter and less painful and shorter and this actually did happen and the cysts stopped, and for about 23 years things were pretty normal other than moderate cramping and headaches and maybe some mild to moderate PMS symptoms.

My last few periods have been heavier and I’ve noticed more clots and they are lasting an extra day or two as well as the time between went from about 27-30 days to about 30-33 days in between.  My PMS symptoms have gone from mild/moderate to severe and pretty debilitating. To the point where I am useless for a week every month because I feel even more crappy then I already do.

Last Thursday I started my period what seemed to be 10 days early on day 23 of my cycle. It seemed to be a moderate period, with some pain and a headache and the normal heaviness. I didn’t think much of it other then it was odd that it was early. 2-3 days is one thing but just a bit more than 1/2 way through my cycle was odd for me.

The night before last we went to bed as normal around 11:30 p.m. and I was feeling fine and I pretty much thought my period was over as I was at the end of day three and the flow had stopped.  I woke up around 1 a.m. due to the cat scratching at the door for food because someone forgot to feed him. I went to the washroom and noticed I was bleeding really really heavy and I had a bad headache. I changed my tapon and pad which I use as backup incase the tampon fails at night.

Eddie woke up when I did so I yelled to him to feed the cat while I was in the washroom. We went back to bed and I fell back to sleep even though I was feeling a bit odd, but I didn’t think much about it. About 3:30, I woke up from a dead sleep and stretched out and just about screamed out in pain.

I got up and hobbled over to the washroom and realized I had completely soaked through the tampon and soaked the pad almost to over-flowing in a little less than an hour and a half from the time I changed them last. Usually I don’t have to change them at all overnight unless I sleep more then 7-8 hours. For safety sake I never go more then 8 hours overnight as recommended.

I kinda felt like something was wrong but still shrugged it off and hobbled back to bed. The pain increased so fast and so much that I was doubled over by the time I made the 10 steps or so back to bed. I tried to shake Eddie awake but couldn’t move because the pain was so intense. I pretty much yelled at him to wake up. I grabbed the long pillow and curled up in the fetal position and told him something was really wrong.

I grabbed my phone and checked my heart rate which is normally about 60-65 when resting and it was 98bpm. I called 811 and spoke to a nurse who of course said go to the hospital. She checked the Digby regional hospital for closures as it closes a few times a week due to a doctor shortage and said it was open and I needed to get there ASAP. She wouldn’t say what she thought it was just that I needed to be seen now, not later.

Eddie called my dad who drove over and picked us up and took us to the hospital. We were in the middle of a snowstorm, I couldn’t dirve and didn’t want Eddie with only a learners permit to drive me in the snow and freezing rain that had been going on for hours with wind gusts of up to 80km/h. It was a bad night all around.

After intake, they put me in a room and told me the doctor would be in when he woke up (not kidding). So we had to wait until 7 a.m. when the doctor finally dragged his ass out of bed. I tried to sleep but was in so much pain. No one offered me anything. Not even so much as tylenol while we waited the 3 1/2 hours for him to come in from the hotel I assume he was staying at. He was a visiting doctor from somewhere else I assume.

He did an exam and when pressing over my left ovary I started to scream and wiggle to get away from him.  He said you need an ultrasound and asked if I had ever had ovarian cysts or torsion before and I said yes I have had cysts and some that ruptured. He said I needed to get the ultrasound ASAP.

Of course, Digby only has a technician in a few days a week. So that meant an hour and ten minute drive to Yarmouth regional hospital for the ultrasound. He wrote it up as urgent and that he wanted me to be seen in the Yarmouth ER after in case I needed more tests or to see a specialist. So after debating about sending me by ambulance, they decided it would be quicker if someone drove me. They called the ambulance but were told it would be a 2-3 hour wait. They simply sisn’t have enough ambulances for a transfer and in the ER. So my dad ended up driving me an hour and ten minutes to the hospital in Yarmouth.

Luckily for me, before I left the Digby hospital the doctor asked if I needed something for the pain. I hesitated because I hate taking anything. He kind of got a bit snarky with me when I looked over at my husband and said “don’t look at him look at me, do you need anything for the pain? yes or no”, so I said okay and he gave me a bit of morphine.

We talked it over decided my husband should still go to work later as he was working 5-9 p.m. so we dropped him off at my parent’s place for some sleep instead of him coming with us and mom took him into work later on and dad and I continued on to Yarmouth. We got there about 10 a.m. and after about 1 1/2 hours they finished the ultrasound. She had issues finding and never actually found my left ovary so it took a long time, luckily the morphine was still working and dulled the pain quite a bit.

When the technician finished she called down to the ER in the hospital to let them know she was sending the results and me down and they refused to take me! They said she had to send the results and me back to the Digby hospital. She tried to explain that I was a possible surgical case and that there was no OR’s in Digby, they still refused. So she called Digby and spoke to the doctor there and he said I needed blood work and a CT but he had no way of ordering either without me being there so he said send me back to Digby.

As we were leaving the Yarmouth hospital I called out-patients in Digby and asked if I was able to have something to eat because my blood sugar was about 3.2 mmol/l and going lower. She asked the doctor and he said I could have something sweet and I could get a bottle of water and only sip it basically just wetting my mouth. So we grabbed a cookie from McDonalds. Chocolate chunk. Not the best option but the easiest.

So dad drove me an hour and ten minutes back to Digby knowing full well there was a good chance he would be turning around and driving me an hour and ten minutes back to Yarmouth in a few hours if it turned out I needed a CT right away. We got back to the ER in Digby and I had to be triaged all over again and wait for a second time to see the doctor, which turned out to be a different doctor. At least the first one told him I was coming and what was going on.

The second doctor noticed that the pain was radiating now to my upper left side of my abdomen and was still concerned it was a cyst but was now even more concerned it had ruptured and that I was bleeding internally. Not all cysts do that but some will cause internal bleeding which can be life-threatening. He was also concerned that it could instead be a bowel blockage or something else and said I need a CT and before he said anything more I said: “So I have to go back to Yarmouth today?”.

He said yes and apologized and I asked if there was any way it could wait till morning as I just wanted to go home and sleep. He looked like he was going to say no but then he said let’s get blood work done and see if there are any indications of an infection or internal bleeding.

We waited another hour for that and the pain was back fully by then. The nurse came in to give me an IV as I had been told through all of this no food or drink and as I am diabetic and had basically no food or drink since the night before and it was almost 3 p.m. at that point even though my sugar was holding steady at 5.6 mmol/l at that point.

As the nurse got ready to start the IV I panicked of course. I don’t mind blood work at all. I don’t mind flu shots or other needles. I don’t mind giving myself insulin injections, glucagon, etc. But I hate hate hate IV’s! With a passion. I panic every time someone comes near me with one or mentions one.

So the nurse left and asked the doctor how necessary it was as my blood sugar was fine and all they were going to give me was dextrose and saline and some pain meds. I said they could give me a shot or pills for the pain meds I don’t care I just can’t handle the IV. So he said fine and she left and never ended up giving me the pain meds or water.

He came back an hour later and said the blood work looked normal and that he was going to let me go home on one condition that I came back to Digby overnight before they closed at 6 a.m. if I had a fever that even touched 100°F or if the pain worsened or spread, had any more bleeding (which had stopped at that point) or in the morning if the pain was the same or worse or a fever and weakness and/or tiredness after a good night sleep or any indication of infection or internal bleeding that I go straight to Kentville or Yarmouth hospital over the next 3 days or Digby if they are open.

So today we have been keeping a really close eye on me. The pain is a bit less, but still there, but no fever or anything. So I have to keep a close eye for the next few days as well as we don’t know for sure but we suspect it was an ovarian cyst on my left ovary that may or may not have ruptured and possibly bled internally but stopped, causing intense pain. Seems to be the story of my life right now. This uncertainty about what is going on within my body.

My mom brought up something that’s been bothering me though. She went through menopause at the same age as I am now, she started at about 38/39 and I am 38 turning 39 this year. Her mom went through menopause starting at age 37 and my aunts were 38 and 39 as well when they started.

I know for the most part you usually start about the same age as your mom and sisters and since I have no sisters and her and her sisters and their mom were all the same age as I am now. I am starting to wonder if maybe I might be going into early menopause myself or at the very least it’s in the back of my mind that they all started around my age.

I also know there is a correlation between Type 2 Diabetes and early menopause as well as a lot of women with Fibromyalgia experience early menopause as well. As I said before I have never been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and other than the uterine infection that landed me in the hospital a year and a half ago for 4 days I haven’t really had any issues in between the cysts when I was younger and now. Hopefully, this is not just another thing to add to the growing list.

Who really likes giving injections?

I know I certainly don’t. I don’t think any diabetic does, do they? Whether you have Type 1, Type 2 or Gestational Diabetes, if you need to take insulin you just do… don’t you?? You don’t act like a two-year-old, well unless you really are a two year old and scream and cry or pout or refuse, do you? Well… maybe you do? I know I sure feel like it sometimes. I literally want to lay down on the ground and have a full on temper tantrum and yell at my husband that he’s so mean when he tries to convince me that I need to. Sometimes times I want to be that petulant little toddler who stubbornly refuses to do as I’m told or as I know I should do. Why? Because it hurts… It just fucking hurts. There I said it.

Some of it is probably in my mind. So yeah, great now on top of being a temper tantrum throwing 2 year old, I’m crazy to boot. But am I? Nothing about diabetes is easy. It’s all a struggle. From counting carbs, assuming you do so, and I’ll admit, I really don’t. To testing your blood sugar. Thank you to the diabetes gods for inventing the Freestyle Libre, or no, maybe that was Abbott. To trying to eat healthy and in my case failing miserably. To getting exercise and losing weight, assuming your overweight. To trying to just understand the disease and control it. It just really really sucks sometimes.

I get overwhelmed by the fear of pain. It only lasts for a moment, even the burning sensation when it enters the skin. It’s definitely not the worst pain I have ever experienced. So why do I want to scream and cry and throw a temper tantrum? Just because I can… because in some little weird way, it makes me feel better, it makes me feel a little more in control… is that weird? I guess so, but I really don’t care. It’s not about wanting a pitty party. It’s not about making a scene. I just that I really don’t like giving injections. In the end, I usually do, but sometimes I chicken out and then feel like a fool. Am I the only one?? Probably not…