Saturday, November 3, 2012

Epiploic Appendagitis

Being in pain sucks. I've been in an annoying amount of pain for about a week, and in the beginning of it I thought it was something that would eventually just go away. But this kind of stomach pain got to the point where I was unable to walk normal, and I ended up being hunched over at work trying to ease it. I couldn't get in and out of my car very easy, couldn't sit down and stand up without cringing in pain, I couldn't even bend down to tie my shoes. I have a very high pain tolerance, and I'm extremely stubborn, so for me to voluntarily go to the ER, I was in some serious pain. On the 1-10 scale for how much stomach pain it was, it'd be a 8 or 9.

So I went to the ER, and based on the location of the stabbing pain, the nurses and doctors thought it could be the appendix. But they said I didn't look sick, and I didn't feel sick, my dexcom graph was a no-hitter for the past 24 hours. The good thing about the helpful and very kind nurses and doctors was that when they saw that I had good control over diabetes, they didn't have to do regular blood glucose checks, or administer insulin for me (which I'm sure saved some money on my incoming hospital bill).

While I was waiting to get my CT scan done, I had several short meetings with the assistant surgeon, which was kind of nerve wracking because I never had surgery before, and I thought the only way for the pain to go away was if they cut me open. After waiting for 4 hours, I had the CT scan done, and I had to wait some more for results so I watched "The Walking Dead" which was a badass show to be on at that moment.

After about a total of 5 hours I found out what the source of the pain was, and it's called epiploic appendagitis, which is an uncommon, benign, self-limiting inflammatory process of the epiploic appendices. Epiploic appendices are small, fat-filled sacs or finger-like projections along the surface of the lower colon and rectum. They may become acutely inflamed as a result of torsion (twisting) or venous thrombosis. The inflammation causes pain, often described as sharp or stabbing, located on the left, right, or central regions of the abdomen.

The good news is that the pain is slowly going away every day, and I was prescribed some extra strength Motrin. After doing some research, I only found one blog post from someone about epiploic appendagitis, so after my girlfriend told me I should blog about this experience, I thought this may benefit someone in the future, in dealing with this uncommon condition.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

One Year - 787

I spent a lot of my life feeling like I wasn't noticed. I spent a lot of time feeling like I wasn't good enough. Outside of my family, I never had someone who cared about me as more than a friend. I've always been self-conscience about the way I look, even though people told me I'm a good looking guy, most of the time I assume they are just trying to make me feel better about myself. I spent a long time thinking I was going to be alone forever.

I hated the thought of being alone. I always considered myself to be the type of guy that would make a good boyfriend.

I can honestly tell you, that the day I followed My Girlfriend on twitter, I fell in love. She didn't even know it. I just knew there was something about her that was different and I had to work up the courage to talk to her on twitter.

We tweeted each other all the time. I woke up excited to talk to her on twitter every morning. I was love-struck and I was nervous if she felt the same way or not. She did feel the same way, she said yes on August 6, 2011. The day my dream came true. I had the most beautiful girl in the world and I couldn't stop smiling.

A couple weeks after starting our relationship I lost my house to Hurricane Irene. I lost the house I lived in for 18 years. I was an emotional wreck. I lived in my brothers basement, and when I went on Skype with my love all I could do was cry, but she always found a way to make me laugh and smile. She comforted me, she hugged me, she made me forget what was happening around me. When I should have been crying and grieving the loss of my house, she was making me smile.

She loved me unconditionally when I was homeless. She gave me warmth when the state of Connecticut lost all of it's power in the middle of winter, she nursed me back to health when I was in agonizing pain from a horrible wisdom tooth, and the extraction.

She has always shown strength when I felt weak. She always picked me back up when I felt beaten down.

I know it was a rough few months when we first started dating, from when I lost my house and all the emotions I was going through, even though you had a ton of school work you always made time for me. You made me feel like the center of your universe. You made me feel important, and wanted. It doesn't seem like much, but every time you say "I love you, handsome" you make me feel like I really am the most handsome man in the world.

I'm proud of everything you've done, and are going to do. I'm proud of you for pursuing your dreams, and I'm so happy you're letting me join you.

You make me feel like the luckiest man in the world, and being able to call you, Ashley Rose, my girlfriend makes me feel more proud than I could ever put into words.

You're beautiful, amazing, intelligent, kind and wonderful...and I love you so very much.

Happy one year, babe.

787.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sticks and Stones

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me"


Yes, they do. I was verbally bullied when I was in middle school, and into high school. Every thing about me was picked on. Starting from my brothers, they would make fun of what I wear and come up with a nickname to embarrass me. They would make up stories about my personal hygiene, they would make fun of my teeth. They would say I look like a duck, and call me "the ugly duckling". My brothers had no remorse when it came to picking on me, because I was the awkward middle child, so I was the punching bag.

I remember all of these situations so vividly. I remember I was in elementary school, and I wore a very red outfit to school. My brothers would call me "firetruck" in a joking way, but it would escalate into a "I'm going to embarrass you and make you feel like shit" kind of way. That nickname got to the school, so the kids at school started calling me that. They never forgot about it, I was maliciously called "firetruck" for a very long time. They wouldn't just call me firetruck, it would be "heeeeyyy it's firetruck! hey firetruck firetruck firetruck!" in front of many people. That's one instance of feeling beat down verbally by your peers....and my own damn brothers.

In 9th grade I got jumped by ten 8th graders, and they beat me down, kicked me in the neck, punched me in the face, ripped my shirt off, and tossed my bike into a dumpster. I was the victim, and then I go to school and the big rumor is "Dustin got his ass kicked by a bunch of 8th graders, what a pussy, he's in 9th grade and should have handled that himself". I did nothing about it. I called the cops on the kids who jumped me, listened to my peers make fun of me, kept my mouth shut and waited for the school bell to ring.

In middle school I was made fun of because my teeth aren't the prettiest. I have a chipped tooth and my teeth are yellow. I brush my teeth. Peers pointed out my ugly teeth so much, that it's nearly impossible to find a picture of me today where you can actually see my teeth. In high school,  my brothers started a rumor that I didn't shower at home, so every single day I went to school someone new came up to me, not to talk to me, they just stood next to me and they say "so your brother WAS right, you really don't shower, you smell". To this day, my older brother still calls me "smelly" like it's some kind of funny nickname to him. I endured 4 years of high school, kept my mouth shut all day, and still got picked on for things that weren't even true.

I anxiously waited for the school bell to ring, so I can go home and lock myself in my room and play video games. My room was the only safe place I ever had, because it was only me. No one to call me a firetruck, an ugly duckling, tell me I smell like shit or say I have an ugly smile. I am so self-conscious about the way I look because of the people that were in my life in such an important part of life. I was growing up. I wasn't accepted for who I was. When I got jumped by the 8th graders, my best friend stood there and watched me get beat down. He did nothing. I have such a hard time believing I'm a good looking guy, because when I look in the mirror I see the same boy that is self-conscious, and has hardly any self-esteem.

Too many people have told me "you're too sensitive". They're right, I am too sensitive. When you get picked on by your brothers and your peers, you have nowhere to go. I've been embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed of myself for looking the way I look. I care too much about the people I love because I know they love me, and accept me. I consider myself the most sensitive man in the world. I can cry on the drop of a dime over something that I shouldn't even be crying about, and I can't help it. I get nervous very easily, that I won't be accepted, or liked, by people because of the way I look. 

I am always unsure of myself, and feel like I deserve less than what I have. But I'm trying to break out of this "being sensitive" thing and work on taking things as they come, instead of having a meltdown over it. It's hard. Believe me, I know what my problem is, and I'm trying my best to make it better.

As for the italicized line up top. Words do hurt. They have a lasting impact on people, and bullying is plain wrong. You're changing someones life for the worse by name-calling and harassing. I never went to school to endure so much shit from my own peers. I just wanted to learn something, and have a good time. 



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Diabetes Hero



Let’s end our week on a high note and blog about our “Diabetes Hero”.  It can be anyone you’d like to recognize or admire, someone you know personally or not, someone with diabetes or maybe a Type 3.  It might be a fabulous endo or CDE.  It could be a d-celebrity or role-model.  It could be another DOC member.  It’s up to you – who is your Diabetes Hero??




Usually when I first hear the word hero, concerning diabetes, I think of myself. I am the hero of my diabetes. When I'm by myself, I'm doing the finger pokes, the carb counts, deciding how much insulin to use, dealing with a low blood sugar migraine but still making sure my blood sugar isn't completely out of control even when I don't want to do anything but sleep. I'm the hero because at the end of the day, I'm the one who has to face the complications if I get them. When I get in conversations about diabetes with people who don't have it, I say "I have to save my own life every single day".

But if I were to have a hero, that wasn't me, it'd probably be George because I felt like I connected with what he blogs about. He was diagnosed at 17 and I was at 18. So whenever I read his blog, I'd think that he was me from the future. I used to believe that no girl would ever want to be in a relationship with me because diabetes would be too much of a burden and nuisance to them, but when I saw that George was married it gave me hope that I could fall in love even if I do have D. He gave me hope that I could lead a happy life, even after so many years of being a diabetic. I look up to him so much that I bought his "Ninjabetic" t-shirt. He is an awesome person.

My second hero, is someone that I appreciate so much. She's beautiful, intelligent, wise, classy, and just all around amazing. Her name is Ashley Rose, and whenever I'm too exhausted from a low she checks my blood sugar every fifteen minutes until I'm ok again. When I'm high and waiting for my blood sugar to drop, she checks on me every few minutes to see how my blood sugar is. She always tells me "Just tell me if I'm hovering or being annoying and I'll leave you alone." I haven't had to tell her that once, because I know she cares and understands what I'm dealing with when I'm high or low. I was single and diabetic for 6 years before I found Ashley, and I don't want to have another high or low without her arms wrapped around me. She makes me feel safe when I feel like crap, she makes me smile when all I want to do is be grumpy. She makes me feel so important to her, when all I want to do is give up. All she has to say is "I just want you to be safe, babe", and she sweeps me off my feet all over again.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday Snapshots

Back for the third year, let’s show everyone what life with diabetes looks like!  With a nod to the Diabetes 365 project, let’s grab our cameras again and share some more d-related pictures.  Post as many or as few as you’d like.  Feel free to blog your thoughts on or explanations of your pictures, or leave out the written words and let the pictures speak for themselves.




My satchel. 

My blood meter.

Lots of finger pokes.

My insulin pump.

Beautiful weather.

Hope.


Friday, May 18, 2012

What They Should Know



Today let’s borrow a topic from a #dsma chat held last September.  The tweet asked “What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes?”.  Let’s do a little advocating and post what we wish people knew about diabetes.  Have more than one thing you wish people knew?  Go ahead and tell us everything.


   I would like people to know is that I did not get diabetes from eating too much sugar. I would like people to know that when I'm not in a happy-go-lucky mood at work it's not because I'm being anti-social or hate my co-workers. It's more than likely because I woke that morning with a blood sugar of 300-something and I was absolutely exhausted and infuriated with diabetes. I would like people to know that just because I'm 170 pounds soak and wet doesn't mean I can't get diabetes.


I'd like people to know that some days my blood sugar is on a roller coaster, I have a headache and I'd like for them to just not talk to me so I can relax my mind as much as I can. I'd like people to know that I can't cure my diabetes by changing what I eat. My pancreas does not make it's own insulin, and I have to use my pump to get it into my body when I need it. I'd like people to stop telling me what I can and can not eat. I know my body better than anyone else does.

Diabetes doesn't discriminate. You can be tall, short, fat, skinny, young, old, white, black, green, blue, or orange and you can still get it. Diabetes doesn't care what plans you have made for tomorrow. Diabetes can ruin your plans if it wants to. Diabetes can ruin your life if you let it. I'd like you to know that because of diabetes, I found out how strong I am, that no matter how much life gets me down that I WILL wake up tomorrow because I refuse to let diabetes defeat me. 

I'd like you to know that handling diabetes is tough. But not nearly as tough as I am.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fantasy Diabetes Device

Today let’s tackle an idea inspired by Bennet of Your Diabetes May Vary.  Tell us what your Fantasy Diabetes Device would be?  Think of your dream blood glucose checker, delivery system for insulin or other meds, magic carb counter, etc etc etc.  The sky is the limit – what would you love to see?


Okay. I couldn't think of any thing cool to use for a fantasy diabetes device, but here goes nothing.

 How about a hat? Just like inspector gadget. It transforms and out comes a finger poker, a vial of test strips and a meter...all you have to do is put your finger in the air and you will get your blood sugar results without even putting in any effort.


Or how about an Iron Man suit? It may be a little awkward to wear, but just imagine how cool it would be to have this suit, and you can use the chamber in the chest to store a vial of insulin so you can always be prepared for battle with diabetes! Not to mention, that is one badass suit so the D-Police will not mess with you at all.


We can be the silver surfer, so whenever we're feeling lonely with diabetes we can teleport to our D-buddies to cheer us up and give us some motivation.

Now, those are all outlandish, but that was the point of this. I wish we could combine all of those abilities together to become a hat wearing, Iron Man suit donning, Silver surfing super hero on our way to diabetes bliss.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week - One Thing To Improve



Yesterday we gave ourselves and our loved ones a big pat on the back for one thing we are great at.  Today let’s look at the flip-side.  We probably all have one thing we could try to do better.  Why not make today the day we start working on it.  No judgments, no scolding, just sharing one small thing we can improve so the DOC can cheer us on!

One thing I think I need to do better at is testing my blood sugar with my meter instead of relying on my Dexcom to be perfectly accurate. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I look at my Dexcom and see that it is stable or that I'm dropping and I treat the high or low with the number on the Dexcom, instead of testing and seeing what the actual number is. That's me being in a rush to go to work. Also, a lot of the time before I get in my car I don't test, which I SHOULD because that it totally unsafe. I just hate taking 10 seconds to stop and test, and sometimes I have to remember that all it is, is 10 seconds.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week - One Great Thing



Living with diabetes (or caring for someone who lives with it) sure does take a lot of work, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves if we aren’t “perfect”.  But today it’s time to give ourselves some much deserved credit.  Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly!  Fasting blood sugar checks, oral meds sorted and ready, something always on hand to treat a low, or anything that you do for diabetes.  Nothing is too big or too small to celebrate doing well! 


This is to talk about one thing I do well, but I actually have a couple of things I think I do really well that are diabetes related. I used to hate taking my oral medication for my blood pressure and Vitamin D, but now it's a habit that completes my day, and if I don't take them I feel like something is missing all day. Not to mention, taking the Vitamin D daily makes me feel 100% better because I used to be so exhausted without it.


The night before a work day I always check my satchel and make sure I have a decent supply of candy in case I go low at work, along with extra sites in case I need to do a site change at work. Both of those things come in very handy, because going low at work happens lot since I'm always on my feet walking around so I go low frequently. And I've had freak accidents where cannulas would be bent and I'd have a no delivery and would have to do a site change in the bathroom at work!

The night before I always make sure my blood glucose case has at least 20 test strips in it so I know for sure that they will last me the whole work day. You never know when you're going to have a day when you will need to test your blood 12 times while at work. Lastly, I think I'm good at making sure I go to my appointments with my nurse practitioner, because when I was first diagnosed I would skip appointments and it almost got to the point where I nearly was refused treatment. I skipped appointments because of denial, and depression and hated going to a doctor because it made me feel like I was really sick.

That was a long list of things I think I'm good at, and it probably sounds like I'm bragging...but most of that stuff I do out of paranoia or just plain old OCD. And for diabetes, that sounds like a good problem to have :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week - Find A Friend



It seems the most popular thing about Diabetes Blog Week is that it helps us find blogs we weren’t reading yet and connect with some new blog friends.  With that in mind, let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by making some new connections.  Think about the d-blogs you read that you think we may not know about and introduce us to one that you love!!  Let’s all find a new friend today!


There's a lot of sites relating to diabetes where you can find support and friends. But I wanted to introduce you to my friend from twitter, he doesn't have a blog, but he does have a Tumblr account at http://missingpianokeys.tumblr.com/. He's told me that he isn't very active in the DOC, and doesn't talk much to people, but I'd love for people to follow him on Twitter and strike up a conversation! He's Type 1, 19 years old and lives in New York City. I'm not saying you can learn a lot from him, but just offer friendship, because there is never harm in showing someone you understand what they are going through.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

One Year With My Pump

April 25th marked my first full year as an insulin pumper. Reflecting back on my decision, I am so glad I made it to ask my nurse practitioner to get one. I still remember leaving the appointment, and going out to my car and just crying my eyes out because I was so happy that I coud use an insulin pump. I was on MDI's for five years and I wasn't so much sick of it, I just wanted to try something new with my diabetes care.

Having an insulin pump has been a lot more convenient for me than using needles and pens. I still carried extra supplies in my satchel just in case I get a kinked cannula or some other nightmare happens while I'm out. I was homeless for two months and I was so glad I had an insulin pump for that experience, because I didn't have to constantly take needles and pens out, and inject in front of people that I didn't feel comfortable doing that around. I simply took the pump out, programmed what I wanted it to do and forgot it was there.

Being on the pump has been a world of a difference in my diabetes care. Not having to carry around needles and pens, having a pump in my pocket is so much more convenient when I'm out and on-the-go. Even at work, I used to have to take pens out and inject myself and worry about people being offended. Now I just take the pump out and do what i have to do.

Most of all, since I use the dexcom and my Minimed pump, my A1c has dropped from about 7.5 to 6.5. And my health is at an all-time high since being diagnosed and I feel great. I can't imagine going back to a life without the convenience of an insulin pump. I love it, and would recommend it to any other diabetic. But don't take my advice, I'm not a medical doctor, I'm just here to share my experiences :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

It's Worth It

I know this is a HAWMC post, but screw it. I'm posting it because I FELT this one when I was typing it.

Dear 16 year old me,


Hi 16 year old Dustin, this is 25 year old Dustin. I'm writing you this letter to tell you a few things. I hope listen to what I have to say, and take it to heart. I'm not here to scare you, I'm here to make you more aware of what life has in store for you. You're a Junior in high school. You're the quiet kid with very few friends. You think high school is stupid and you just want to get it over with and graduate already. You're tired of being looked down upon by your peers just because you aren't part of their crowd. There's a lot of cliques in your school.

Fast forward to 2005, you'll be 18 years old and graduating. You are so glad you're done with all the dramatic high school people, so you can finally do something with yourself. Graduation is bitter-sweet but you say you won't miss high school. You get your first job after graduation and you're making great money, and you're saving so much of it. You have no idea what you're going to spend your money on.

After four months of working at your first job, you'll feel tired all the time. You're going to feel miserable. You're going to feel like your feet are being crushed in vise grips, your vision is blurred and cloudy and you can hardly see 15 feet in front of you. You're going to think it's just because this is your first job and you're tired, but you're going to get worried after a month of this and start doing research. Everything you're feeling leads to one word - Diabetes.

You're going to tell Mom you're not feeling well and that you think you have diabetes. You were right. You have diabetes, and you won't know how to deal with it. On the outside you'll keep your composure and act like you have full control over it like it's nothing at all. On the inside, you're falling apart, but you're too stubborn to say it. You're blood sugar was 747 and you should have been dead. You'll go to your appointments and get your prescriptions and do the regular testing and injections. 

There's going to be one night where you won't want diabetes anymore. You're going to wind your Novolog pen up to 60 units, and think about injecting all of it. Who knows, maybe you'll just lay there and let yourself die. You're too young for this diabetes shit anyway, right? I mean, you just had the ability to eat anything you want and not worry, taken away from you. You're pissed off that you're now different from everyone else. You're going to feel like the weird one. But you didn't inject it, maybe you'll never know why you didn't do it. Boy, what you would do to be back in high school again.

 When you're 20 years old you're going to go into a diabetic coma. Your blood sugar will be 1200. You should be dead, but you're not. You think you'd rather be dead than have to continue dealing with diabetes. Even this didn't make you see how serious diabetes is. You are in such denial, that almost dying didn't convince you of how serious type 1 diabetes is. You should either be dead, blind, missing a limb or have some other complication from having a blood sugar of 1200. You escaped such a traumatic experience unscathed. But that isn't going to make you want to change how you treat your diabetes, and you're going to end up in the hospital because of a severe low a few years later.

Here's my advice for you, I told you this wasn't meant to scare you. Actually, you're 16 and you're so damn stubborn you probably think I'm lying. Talk to people when you feel like you can't handle it anymore. Speak up to someone so they know what you're going through. Dont lie to your doctor and tell them you're feeling good when you know you are not. You're too stubborn for your own good, and need support because you will not survive this by yourself. Most of all, please take my advice because the most important day of your life isn't coming a year or two from now. The most important day of your life is August 6th, 2011, and I'm not going to ruin it for you because I want you to be as surprised and shook to your core as 24 year old Dustin was. You can do this, Dustin. You can do this. It's worth it.


Sincerely,

25 year old Dustin...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Correcting Lows

When I was first diagnosed with Type 1, I always corrected low blood sugars with soda. I never knew how many carbs I was drinking, even if it was just a couple of sips, so I didn't know how high my blood sugar would go. Normally, when I corrected a low I would shoot into the 250-300 range and that range would end up being my "diabetes comfort zone".

After 5 years or so of doing that I purchased a CGM, and about a year later I purchased an insulin pump, to further help my life with diabetes. I learned about all the things people used to correct lows with, such as candy, soda, glucose tabs, whatever they were comfortable with. I was tired of having a comfortable blood sugar range that was way too high because I corrected with soda.

My A1c has usually been between 7.2 and 7.9 for the first 5 years of managing diabetes. I decided I wanted to change the way I corrected lows, so I knew how many carbs I was putting in my body, so I knew how high I would go and be comfortable with it. I started buying Smarties, which have 6 grams of carbs in one roll. I've been using Smarties as a correction for the past 6 months and my current A1c is 6.5.

My A1c is the lowest it's been since the day I was diagnosed. Not just because of the way I correct, but because of the way I use my CGM, insulin pump, AND how I correct lows. Every little thing you do impacts your life with diabetes. Making a lot of small steps and making small changes can have a very big and positive impact on your diabetes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Victorious

          Last week I had an appointment with my nurse practitioner, basically going over prescription refills, and checking my basal rates. I have an amazing nurse practitioner at the Joslin Diabetes Center. She's so good that I told her I didn't even want to see my endo there anymore....we just didn't see eye-to-eye on things. She always tells me how "happy and energetic" I am compared to some of her other patients she sees.

          She's always happy to see me for an appointment, and when she sat down next to me reading the info she gathered from my pump she patted me on the back and told me she was proud of me. Because I'm one of the few patients she sees who truly WANTS to improve at living with diabetes. She tells me about so many other patients that she sees who don't have the same desire to improve their health, but just look for medication refills.

          A big part of living with diabetes is your medical team, but the other huge part is wanting to improve. What good is your doctor if you don't have the desire to help yourself, too? Last month I posted a blog about feeling like a failure. So, what I did was I focused on dinner and carb counted everything I ate at night and bolus'd correctly, instead of forcing a low, and my numbers have been improving a lot. So I was curious what my A1c would be this time around.

          My A1c a couple months ago was 6.8. I figured, it would have gone up to at least 7 since I stopped forcing lows. But when I got the card in the mail today, I slowly opened it and saw a 6.5. The lowest my A1c has been since I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes seven years ago. When I saw that number my eyes filled with tears and I couldn't stop smiling. I was running around the house to show my family, I tweeted it to all of you reading this. Something as simple as someone else with diabetes, who UNDERSTANDS, saying "good job! great! good work!" feels so good. 

          Being on an insulin pump has GREATLY improved my life, and my A1c. But without the D-OC, and the support, and friendship through the good and bad, I never would have even wanted to improve my life with diabetes. So thank you to all of you, who sent a simple tweet that said "good job" because it means more to me than just two simple words. It means you get what I'm going through, you know the struggle, and you know how it feels to feel truly victorious.