Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Facing Old Demons, Part 2

“The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about.”

Diabetes is hard. It's a constant struggle. You have to think about it twenty-four hours per day, seven days straight. Diabetes doesn't take a vacation.

Many people assume insulin is a cure. That, with insulin, you are cured, and you don't have to worry about a thing. I worry constantly. Will I meet someone who cares enough about my well-being to handle me at my very worst? Will he check my blood sugar in the middle of the night, just because? Will I be able to have his children? Will I die in my sleep from a low blood sugar, or have a heart attack, or stroke, caused by a high blood sugar? Will I die young? Will my death certificate state that my cause of death was type 1 diabetes? 

Diabulimia came without warning; it started off as an innocent fling, and ended up turning into a tumultuous relationship that I can't seem to break free of. 

You see, the demons can never be silenced for good; they can be refused by your own strength and dignity, but it is a hard fight. Being brave and courageous will not always save you from giving into the temptation.

In my last entry, I left you with the cliffhanger of myself as a 24 year old academic secretary for Ohio State.

The comments made directly to me about my weight from my colleagues was more than likely meant to be constructive criticism, but when someone hates their body, and punishes themself because of a chronic illness, it's sometimes best to keep your comments to yourself. Period.

I wrote off my rapid weight loss to my co-workers as a "low carb diet" with "plenty" of exercise. Ha. I knew damn well what I was doing, and I didn't care. 

The holidays were upon us at that time, and in order to maintain a "safe weight" prior to the festitivites, I completely disregarded my diabetes. The denial had set in deep, once again. I was determined to prove that I was NORMAL, and that my size 12 butt would fit into the size 8 and 10 pants hanging in my closet. 

I would wake up every morning and weigh myself naked. In November of 2010, I was back down to 154 pounds. I was 4 pounds away from being my weight at 15 years old! When I had stopped taking my full daily dosage of insulin back in September, I had weighed 170 pounds. It felt so good to see a smaller number on the scale. It felt amazing to fit into pants that were not my true size. I felt giddy about my dirty secret. 

I had dark circles under my eyes, because I wasn't getting any sleep at night. I would get up constantly to use the restroom, and I would chug two 16 oz. bottles of water before going back to bed. 

The mornings spent at my apartment, getting ready for work, were unbearable. My muscles were so stiff, it literally pained me to walk 20 feet. I could hardly raise my arms to get a shirt on. I would have to take tiny breaks, inbetween mascara and lipstick, to lay down.

I had a headache that wouldn't go away. I felt dizzy. I was sweating profusely; I had to take extra make up to work to make touch ups. 

En route to work, I would pull my car over to the side of 670 West (every single morning) and vomit. It was yellow bile. Sometimes, it would be nothing at all; just dry heaving. I would drive to work in 20 degree weather with my air conditioning on. I didn't wear a coat into work; I was so hot all the time. But my belly was shrinking, so I insisted on keeping it up.

I never ate lunch, or took snack breaks at work. I lived off of water, Diet Coke, and coffee from Starbucks. I probably had one meal per day, that was barely 300 calories.

My pharmacist would call and inform me that my insulin was at the pharmacy, waiting to be picked up (I had signed up for auto renewal, months before). I would lie, and say I had just been busy, but don't worry! I'm coming to get it!

Living two and a half hours south of my home town meant it was easy to lie to my parents about my diabetes; they only saw me maybe twice a month. "Yes, mom. Doing just fine. Yes, I have enough insulin." When I was 15, 16, 17, 18 years old, lying to my mother wasn't a big deal. Being a young 24 year old woman, it hurt me to lie to her, but it was just something I had to do, until I reached my goal weight. 

Dr. Christofides is no fool. She knew exactly what I was doing. She called me out on it at every single visit. I would laugh it off, and tell her she was wrong. 

Dr. Christofides insisted on taking me to see her patients in the hospital. Women on dialysis. Women who were going blind. Women who kept having miscarriages. All because they neglected themselves. 

To me, I was invincible. It didn't matter what the hell I did to my body; That would never be me. It would never happen to me. I wouldn't need to be on a wait list for a donor kidney. I wouldn't have to worry about not being able to have a baby of my own. 

At Christmas, we all gathered back home at my mom's sister's house. Everyone complimented me on how great I looked. It felt so good. I could button and zip myself into a size 8, 9, and 10 pant. I would have to be crazy to go back to religiously taking my insulin. 

Another year passed. It was 2011. My weight was holding steady at 155 pounds. 

I ended up transferring my academic secretary position to another department, only, I would now work as a medical assistant. I instantly fell in love with my new work family. I wore my insulin pump, but I never bolused; I was only receiving my basal, or "background" insulin.

About two months into my job, I received an email from my clinic manager, stating that she and I needed to talk about my attendance. 

I was in jeopardy of being fired for my many call off's. 

I told my clinic manager that I had FMLA. 

She told me that she didn't care—if I am a full time employee, then I am expected to report to work full time. I accepted the write up, and walked out of her office rolling my eyes. 

Working in general internal medicine, we see a lot of chronic health problems, especially diabetes. I felt like a hypocrite. I was standing beside my physician, preaching about a healthy lifestyle to his diabetic patients, and meanwhile, I wasn't even taking care of myself. 

Now, put yourself in my shoes. I am supposed to be the "shining star," the "good example," of what a diabetic should "look like" to my patients—and I don't even take my medication. I was disgusted with myself. So, I stopped being a diabulimic for awhile.

I ended up bringing down a hemoglobin a1c of 9-something percent, to about 7%. I can also tell you, that my weight shot back up to 170 pounds in eight short months. I hated myself. 

After discussing my issues at my appointment with Dr. Christofides, she recommended seeing a psychologist, or entering a rehab program.

I looked into different outpatient clinics throughout the Columbus area, and found one close to my apartment. 

When I called to schedule an appointment, the woman I spoke to seemed alarmed and rather concerned. She suggested an inpatient rehabilitation program. The thought of being hospitalized for 4 to 7 days (or more) terrified me. How much money would that cost me? I ended up hanging up on her. She never called back, and I never bothered with it again.

I went in and out of my phases with diabulimia; half of my daily dose here, all of my daily dose there, none of my daily dose the next day. 

I was desperate to be with people who had diabetes; I needed someone to relate to. It wasn't a very personal or enlightening conversation with my friends who didn't have diabetes. Their response was always the same: "That sucks." 

In an effort to branch out and meet new friends with diabetes, I applied to be a camp counselor for Camp Korelitz, through The American Diabetes Association. The camp catered to both type 1 and type 2 children, ages 8 to 17. 

Camp Korelitz was located in Clarksville, Ohio, just right outside of Cincinnati. The camp ran for 7 days. 

I was in charge of six 13 year old girls. Another counselor, named Grace, assisted me in caring for our campers. All of our girls had type 1 diabetes, many already on an insulin pump.

Every night, we would sit around and have what was called a "Cabin Chat" before bedtime. We would talk about how ignorance and assumption can hurt our feelings, and discuss how the teasing from "outsiders" affected our mental health.

These girls were so brave. Many of them encouraged one another to accept ignorance as an opportunity to educate about type 1 diabetes. They didn't harm themselves to cope. They would ask me how I dealt with the teasing, and the burdens of diabetes, when I was their age. I had made a promise to myself, even before attending camp, that I would not poison their minds with diabulimia. I never mentioned it. I didn't want them knowing it existed, or that it was even possible to harm yourself this way. 

We would have to wake the girls up at midnight and 3:00 AM to check their blood sugars. It killed me to do that to them; I can totally relate to the parents (as well as my own) of type 1 diabetic children! It's awful! Ripping their hands out from underneath their pillow, just to stab it and make it bleed to check a glucose level. Sometimes, they would be so combative in their sleep, we had to go for toes. The lows were terrible. Having to fully wake them up to ingest a juice box and some Goldfish crackers (some of these kids were veterans; they could drink and eat, all while still sleeping). The high blood sugars were a little more difficult; you had to check with the cabin doctor or nurse to see if it was appropriate to correct with insulin.

I stopped to think about all of the times I had woken up with high blood sugars, due to my hyperglycemia—I had never corrected a single one. It was agony. Why had I done this to myself?

Being with type 1 diabetic children made me angry at myself; I felt like I was cheating them. I wasn't being a good role model. They had such positive attitudes, and I would lay in my bunk at night, selfishly thinking that it never gets better.

But it does. 

Support is a wonderful thing. Sometimes, you don't even realize how bad you need it. 

After camp, I had made another promise to myself—I wasn't going to shatter my neverending hope of a normal life. I wasn't going to hurt myself anymore, because my kidneys were important to me. I didn't want to end up on dialysis. I was not invincible, like I had once thought. 

I returned to work feeling miserable. The lack of sleep I got at camp—playing camp counselor, nurse, sister, and parent—made my blood sugars high, and I had ketones in my urine. I ended up leaving work before the lunch hour to take care of myself, which was totally fine with my clinic manager. 

I remember driving home and thinking, "Maybe I should just ride these high blood sugars out, and see if I can drop a couple pounds." By the time I got home, I was dry heaving. Nope. Time to correct with a manual insulin injection, and place my insulin pump on an increased temporary basal rate. 

By 4 o'clock that evening, my blood sugars were on the mend, and my ketones had pretty much resolved.

I saw my endocrinologist the very next week for a 6 week follow up. I told Dr. Christofides about my revelation. I expressed gratitude to her for never giving up on me, in lieu of the lying that was associated with my diabulimia. 

My best friend got married in September, and I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. Myself, Kristin, (and all of our friends) laughed at my disadvantage with my insulin pump and my Dexcom CGM—I looked so lumpy from my lifesavers' outlines in my dress! 

The holidays came, and still, I was tempted with stopping my insulin in order to lose weight.

But I didn't do it.

I enjoyed the holidays as a healthy, 26 year old. I wasn't hiding a secret anymore. I wasn't missing work. I was happy, for once. Of course I would have my moments, where I wanted to stop insulin for a few days, just to feel better in my jeans, but it's not worth it. I can't even really tolerate a blood sugar in the 200 mg/dL range anymore! I end up feeling weak and flu-like, just as I did when I wasn't giving myself insulin. 

It took some growing up, self love and acceptance, to realize that diabulimia isn't worth it. I don't want to die, cut my life short, all because of a number on a scale. 

I had to accept that I was given this diagnosis as a blessing—to help others, especially children, with type 1 diabetes. 

I had to accept that with this disease, comes the realization that I will never be perfect—and the best part is, I don't have to be. Blood sugars will go high and blood sugars will go low, and sometimes, I don't want to try and put them back together again, but I have to. There is no choice. Life is too important to me. 

There is a great quote I have come to find, spoken by a Mary Anne Radmacher. She said, “Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes, courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying, "I will try again tomorrow."” I have found this to be very comforting throughout my journey of self discovery. 

I don't believe I will ever be "cured" of diabulimia, just like I have not yet been cured of type 1 diabetes. I still think about stopping my insulin every single day. The thought is always there; it always comes to the surface, once, twice, sometimes three times per day. But, I have a great support system in my family, my friends, my co-workers, and my endocrinologist. 

I'll always have a little extra chub on my belly (insulin is a hormone that just happens to aid in the storage of fat, which is why a lot of type 1 diabetics have a difficult time losing weight), but I don't care. I'm alive, and I don't have any complications from my juvenile diabetes.

I have recently been eating a healthier diet, and trying to get more exercise. I have replaced a lot of my favorite carbohydrates with vegetables and nuts. I live off of Quest Nutrition Protein Bars—they are virtually bolus-free! I'm finding myself using less insulin, only, now in a healthy way! Less high blood sugars, less correction insulin used. Less carbohydrates ingested, less insulin needed to cover the food in order to prevent high blood sugars. I think I have it figured out, for once in my life! 

I wanted to provide my readers with photos for comparison, but a lot of them were just too difficult to share. I was unrecognizable, and I didn't want to trigger anyone's recovery with diabulimia. 

This is a photo from 1990, when I was 4 and a half years old; This photo was actually taken at the hospital, during my stay for my type 1 diabetes diagnosis.

This photo is from after my discharge; I went to the local Southwyck Mall in Toledo, Ohio, to get my ears pierced after my follow up appointment.

Happily accepting a dinner time basal injection at Christmas, circa 1994.

This photograph breaks my heart. This was during the middle of my freshman year of high school, in 2001. I looked so sick. Hiding all of that pain behind a smile.

This is from my 17th birthday, the middle of my sophomore year. It amazes me how small my upper body was.

Some full body-comparison shots. The photo on the left was my junior year homecoming; the photo on the right was at some point during my sophomore year.

And here is a collage photo; just recognize how much the weight in my face changes. It's so crazy to me!

This photo was taken on Christmas, 2008. I am pictured (middle) with my siblings. I must have been "sober" here. My weight looks heavy.

This photo was taken during the summer of 2011. I'm saddened by how unhealthy I look; I am on the far left. 

This photo was taken in August of 2012, the day after I returned from Camp Korelitz. This is Kristin; we were at her bridal shower. I'm healthy here!

This picture was taken in September of 2012,  for Kristin's bachelorette party. I'm the 3rd from the left. I am healthy here!

Kristin's wedding day, 9/26/12. I am on the right hand side, in the middle. Healthy again! 

In closing, I hope that each of you can take something from me sharing my story of struggle. A personal world of self acceptance and love is a wonderful place to be, and it took me a very long time to get here. 

I am a warrior, and I refuse to let someone else's words bring me down and take me back to that awful place. 

I'm not going back. 


**If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please call the National Center For Eating Disorders, at 1-877-829-2142. Get the help you need, and help save a life.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ripped Protein Coffee Creamer Review

So, back on July 28, I won a bag of lean vanilla bean coffee creamer, made by Ripped Cream, from Peace, Love, and Low Carb's blog (www.peaceloveandlowcarb.com).

Ripped Cream is a fairly new company that makes "good for you" coffee creamer.

The creamer currently comes in two flavors, chiseled chocolate & lean vanilla bean. The powdered creamer is gluten free, and contains 11 amino acids. 

You will receive 50% of the daily allowed dose of Vitamin D3, and it boasts to have as much protein as one whole egg.

In one serving, which is 2 tablespoons, you will receive 5 grams of protein, 8 sugars, and 10 carbohydrates. One serving is 90 calories. 

2 tablespoons is a big serving; I generally have been using just one in an eight ounce cup of steaming coffee.

It does not mix well with cold coffee—if you are more of an iced coffee drinker, be sure to add it to the hot brew of coffee, and then refrigerate. 

Despite already smelling and tasting sweet, I found myself having to add a packet of Stevia. 

I didn't get to try the chiseled chocolate (I was promised two full sized 8 oz. bags), but the lean vanilla bean is just OK. 

One 8 oz. bag will set you back $11.99, and is currently only available online. It is available in select health food stores (ex: Whole Foods), but check their website to be sure. 

In my personal opinion, I'm going to pass on this protein-infused coffee creamer.

Be sure to check out their website for more details: www.rippedcream.com

Monday, August 19, 2013

Facing Old Demons, Part 1

Let me start by saying this: Once you overcome an obstacle, it's always in your rear view mirror. 

In 2000, I was starting my freshman year of high school. I couldn't wait. A brand new school (same school system), new teachers, more kids, and of course: boys.

Diabetes was the last thing on my mind; I refused to make it a priority.

Each school year, my mom would talk to all of my teachers and give them the 411 about my type 1 diabetes. I was able to leave low snacks in their desk drawers, and the school nurse was at my beck and call. Sometimes, she would come and find me to see how my day was going. The school dietician also always found me at lunch to make sure I had "everything I needed."

When you're a freshman girl, the only thing on your mind is boys. 

You wonder, "Will the older boys think I'm cute?" "Will I be asked to wear his jersey to the football game?", and—"Will he ask me to the dance?"

This was what I thought about; I didn't care about testing my blood sugar, or taking my insulin. I didn't want to draw any (unwanted) attention to myself. 

So, after experimenting, I found that by not taking my insulin, I was always thirsty. My blood sugars were high; I wasn't hungry for food, just thirsty for water, although all I drank was Diet Coke.

I weighed myself half way into the school year, which was after the new year (2001); I was 15 years old, and weighed 150 pounds.

I continued to play soccer, and march in the marching band, without taking insulin. I didn't feel good. I was tired, and grumpy, and my thirst was never quite quenched.

But something started happening; older boys noticed me. They thought I was pretty. I could fit into my older sister's clothes (who was smaller than I was). 

I dyed my hair blonde, and wore more make up. I loved that my belly was shrinking. "Soccer is helping me lose weight, too," I would selfishly think.

My mom would always question whether or not I was taking care of myself. Of course, I lied to both her and my father.

At the time, I would see my pediatric endocrinologist every 3 months. I can remember taking my OneTouch logbook to study hall, the day before my appointment, and just writing random numbers all throughout. 178 here, 204 there, oh look, 98 here! All of them were lies. 

My endo would review my log book and look down at me, over his silver rimmed glasses. "Are these really your blood sugars?" He would ask. "Yes!" I exclaimed. "Where is your meter? Did the nurse download it?" He asked. "Oh, I was in such a rush this morning, I forgot my meter." 

Dr. Horner then started sending in his child psychologist to evaluate me. She would ask me really uncomfortable questions, like if I was doing illicit drugs, or if I was depressed. To a 15 year old, these are all embarrassing and "None Of Your Business!" type questions. I wasn't doing drugs, I wasn't having sex, I wasn't depressed or suicidal, BUT: I was involved in self hate that made me neglect my type 1 diabetes. 

After the visit, I would have to go to the lab to get my blood drawn.

I would then get a phone call after my appointment, maybe 2 or 3 days later.

My hemoglobin a1c was 12%. Another three months later, it was 14%. I was lying to my diabetic care team, saying that I had "no idea," what was wrong with me, and that there was "no way," that my hemoglobin a1c was that high. 

I think deep down, they knew. But they were waiting for something bad to happen in order for me to accept my part in self harm.

Freshman year ended, and summer soccer started up. I remember my muscles being so sore and stiff; It hurt to run. I was constantly thirsty, and trying to catch my breath while I ran, because my mouth was so dry. 

I didn't get any sleep at night, because I was always getting up to go to the bathroom, or get something to drink. I was constantly dry heaving and vomiting bile. I was always sweaty.

I lost focus on my school work; my grades were slipping. 

I decided to take 1 shot per day, in order to feel a little better. I chose to take my Lantus; I never used my Humalog. I ate one meal per day, which was usually dinner that my parents would make for our family. 

I spent my lunch money on Diet Coke, which was $1 for a 16 ounce bottle. I had 4 per day, throughout the school day.

No one ever asked me about my diabetes. My teachers never did, my coaches never did, and the nurse and dietician stopped coming to find me. I honestly don't think that anyone even knew I had diabetes.

My parents would get home from work after I got home from school, and I would say that I had already taken my dinner doses, so, let's eat! My parents trusted me, and I was such a good liar. I used to laugh about fooling them.

Come winter of my sophomore year, I weighed 120 pounds. I had lost 30 pounds since my freshman year. 

My wake up call came one morning in January 2002. I was sitting in English class, and felt so sick. I was scared I was getting the flu. Mrs. Napholz called us up one-by-one to pick up our newly assigned reading material for the quarter.

After I went to the front of the class to collect my book from her, I felt lightheaded, and my heart was pounding outside of my chest; it felt irregular.

I remember walking back to my desk, and just slumped onto the floor. I woke up to everyone standing around me, and screaming. I ended up being walked to the nurse's office, who didn't even assess me. She just let me lay on her cot, and called my parents. She didn't test my blood sugar, she didn't ask any questions in regard to my diabetes. She asked me what I had for breakfast, and when I told her I hadn't eaten, she wrote it off as "not having energy," for the school day. 

I felt like I had a fever. I felt sick.

My mom was working, but my dad was laid off at this time. 

Dad came into the office and took me home. He asked what my blood sugar was; I lied and told him it was low. 

He made me soup when we got home; I don't remember even eating it, I just remember laying on the couch and thinking to myself, "I've got to stop this, I can't do this anymore." I could barely function!

My 3 month follow up with Dr. Horner was the next week, and I ended up confessing my tryst. He was not happy, but seemed to be understanding. My mother was heartbroken. She cried. 

Dr. Horner suggested putting me on an insulin pump. I refused. I didn't want to make a spectacle of my diabetes; no one even knew I had it! I would just subject myself to teasing and tortuous questioning.

However, after graduating high school, and worried about subjecting my body to diabetic complications, I informed my endocrinologist that I was interested in starting pump therapy.

I had to wear a continuous glucose monitor (or CGM) for seven whole days. The insertion of the needle under my skin was terrifying—it was about an inch and a half long. It stayed in place under my skin with lots of Tegaderm tape. The receiver was attached with wires, and it sort of resembled a Holter Monitor. The receiver had a strap, which I could tie around my waist, or wear around my shoulder, like a handbag. I had to shower with this particular CGM, and was advised to put a ZipLock bag over the receiver when doing so.

A week later, I traveled back to my endocrinologist's office to have the CGM removed, and downloaded. The downloaded graphs were sent to my insurance, a long with a letter of medical necessity.

Not even a week from that time, a gentleman by the name of Juan from Medtronic called. It was during the family dinner hour, which consisted of homemade tacos. 

Juan provided me with the news, that would change my life—my insulin pump was approved 100% through Medical Mutual of Ohio. I wouldn't owe a dime.

I remember clapping, and screaming, and shouting. I remember tears welling up in my eyes. This is it. This is all I needed to get back in the driver's seat. I wasn't going to let it control me anymore—I would be in control.

My pump class was about 3 1/2 hours long; my dad journeyed with me back to Toledo to meet with Kathy, my nurse and diabetes educator. Initially, I had to fill my reservoir with saline to "practice," and make sure I was comfortable with dosing.

Another week flew by, and I was finally able to draw up my reservoir with Novolog insulin.

The first couple of days were a little intimidating (especially with the insertion of the Quick Set), but I caught on soon enough.

My hemoglobin a1c came down from 12% to about 10% in three months. My doctor was pleased. I never weighed myself at home, so when the nurse weighed me prior to my appointment time, I was flipping out. I had GAINED ten pounds! Ten! This was ridiculous!

After my appointment, I made another one for 3 months out. 

I continued to deprive myself, here and there. I would bolus for half of the carbohydrates I would eat. I never used a temporary basal percentage if my blood sugars were running high, or if I was on my menstrual cycle. Nope. 

I noticed that I was starting to lose about half of what I had gained, and I was happy.

Once I turned 21, Dr. Horner's nurse practitioner, Janet, decided that I needed to "move on" from their practice; I was getting "too old" for them, and they couldn't treat me as a type 1 adult.

I was given office information for a Rick Beeham, MD, who was still in the Toledo area.

Dr. Beeham was nice; I think I met with him maybe 4 or 5 times. He was calm, and didn't judge me. He assisted me in changing my basal rates, and offered therapy classes for "diabetics with eating disorders." I scoffed at that—who said I had a problem? 

In July of 2009, I ended up losing my job as a medical assistant. I worked at Olive Garden as a server. I never wore my pump to work; I didn't want to deal with the questions and my co-worker's curiosity, and frankly, I couldn't afford my diabetic supplies or prescriptions without my medical insurance. I never took my insulin, my meter, or my syringes to work. I got in trouble for calling off twice, due to DKA-like symptoms from hyperglycemia. I almost lost my job! Call off's required a doctor's note.

My grandma Tinker had lost her battle with breast cancer while I was working at Olive Garden, which made me lapse into an even bigger neglect with my diabetes.

A boy I had been dating at the time decided to take me out for a fun, bar-hopping weekend in Athens, Ohio, his college alma mater (Ohio University).

On the journey back home (which did not once include testing my blood sugar, or taking insulin), I remember hearing radio ads for Mount Carmel and Ohio State University Hospitals. I kept those names in the back of my mind—I needed to get out of Sandusky, and back into the medical field. I needed insurance, and stable income to survive. I had tried and failed to find other medical assisting jobs; there were no full-time jobs anywhere.

Around 8 o'clock at night on a Sunday when we returned back home, I got online and applied for Mount Carmel East Hospital, as a cardiovascular medical assistant.

My mother woke me up the very next morning at 8 o'clock. A woman named Phyllis was calling about my online application.

Two days later, I interviewed. I found out on a Friday morning that I got the job! This meant I would be packing up my life and moving to Columbus, Ohio! 

I had to move in temporarily with my sister's friend, Nicky. I paid her with what I could afford, for rent. I bought my own groceries, and I lived off of a 3 month old vial of Novolog and a Levemir pen, until I could establish with an endocrinologist in my new city. 

I ate like crap. I drank too much Diet Coke, and I started smoking cigarettes to deal with all of the stress that I was under.

Dr. Archer, one of my assigned cardiologists, told me to establish with an endocrinologist as soon as possible. He was worried about me, as his medical assistant. I didn't look good; I looked sick. And I felt sick. Every day.

I eventually made an appointment with Romy Basin, MD. He was on my list of covered physicians in my new Aetna insurance network. 

I only saw him twice; he was awful. He billed my insurance as a type 2 diabetic. He never made eye contact with me. He never provided me with any advice, and he judged me with my history of insulin abuse. He didn't get to know me as a person, just as an uncontrolled disease.

Dr. Archer then personally recommended Elena Christofides, MD. I made an appointment—and was seen within the next 7 days, which is unheard of in specialty medicine.

Dr. Christofides saved my life. 

She never judged me. She listened to me. She provided me with insulin samples, and even got me in touch with her Medtronic rep, to provide me with sample supplies for my pump. 

Medtronic contacted me the very next day to order supplies, based on the prescription she submitted.

Dr. Christofides helped me recognize that I did have a problem with abuse. 

She has always given it to me straight; she has never "sugar coated" anything. She told me I would die if I continued to abuse my insulin to lose weight. I was shocked by the reality. 

I had decided right then and there (June of 2010) that it wasn't worth it. My life was worth more to me than my weight.

I then received a job offer with the Ohio State University Medical Center. 

I continued to work for two more weeks with Mount Carmel, and then took my full-time position (with insurance benefits) at OSU as an academic secretary for the Rheumatology department on main campus.

This was the worst job ever. The pay increase was hardly worth it. I answered phones all day, I submitted refill requests for medication to the doctors, I had to cancel their clinics and arrange their meetings.. It was terrible. Those eight hour days dragged. 

The rheumatologist that I was assigned to, Dr. Mehta, recognized my insulin pump and knew right away that I was a type 1 diabetic. However, she opened her mouth a little too much. She would constantly judge my meals and snacks, and tell me that I needed to lose weight. That did it. Goodbye, insulin. 

My co-worker, Theresa, at the time, had always opened her mouth at the wrong times, as well. "Those pants are getting a little tight through your midsection," she would remark. See ya next time, insulin! 

I was back at square one, and back to lying to my endocrinologist.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

...And I'm Back!

Let's play catch up.

Kristin and Max had a beautiful wedding in September. Since their wedding, they've purchased a home, and are now in the process of adopting a puppy, and possibly thinking about a baby.

Christmas was wonderful as usual; it's my favorite time of the year to spend with my family.

In January, I traveled to Florida for a guy - which didn't end up working out.

My sister, Katie, and her husband, Drew, found out they were pregnant with their first child in February of this year. As of two weeks ago, we discovered it's a girl! She is due on October 21. Her baby shower is August 31.

I saw my endocrinologist in March, and my hemoglobin a1c was 9.4%.

In April, I decided to take the 24 Day Challenge through Advocare. My brother in law is a distributor, so at the beginning of April, I signed on to take the challenge, as well as promote and distribute their products. I lost 7 pounds (which is amazing for being a type 1 diabetic), but unfortunately gained it back, due to overdosing on peanut butter. I'm not lying to you - JIF peanut butter ruined my life. I was unknowingly eating 500-700 calories of peanut butter per DAY. Hey, I loved it with my gala apple.. give me a break! So, I broke up with peanut butter.

I still love my Advocare supplements. I still take the MNS C, Catalyst, and Thermo Plus. I also can't get through a morning without my SPARK! If you are interested in starting the 24 Day Challenge, you can read more about it here: http://www.advocare.com/24daychallenge/
If you are interested in purchasing, please contact me here: https://www.advocare.com/1304626/

Anyway, in more recent news - my hemoglobin a1c came down to 8.4% as of July.

I also quit smoking cigarettes in May. My weight went up from that, but I don't care - my lungs are recooperating, and I'm not putting my risk of heart attack or stoke above average any longer!

My new discovery of Quest Protein Bars has made my weight management a little easier. They are very diabetic-friendly. Low carb, low sugar, and the right amount of fat and protein. I usually replace my breakfast and lunch with 1 bar. My favorite flavors are the Apple Pie and Peanut Butter & Jelly (peanut butter without the guilt)! You can purchase them at your local GNC store (buy 3, get 1 free through the end of this month), or online at http://www.questproteinbar.com/

I also realized this morning, while stumbling at the online news, that I am 24 months "sober" of my struggle with diabulimia. The temptation is still always there; I think about not using insulin at least twice per day, but I know what my consequences will be. I don't want to have to use my vacation time for "sick" days. I don't want my kidneys to stop functioning, and I definitely don't want my early retinopathy to develop into full-blown retinopathy. It's a day-to-day fight - something I will probably never recover from, but I am trying to at least heal my mind from thinking of harming myself.

Until next entry...