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Monthly Archives: April 2009

Well, that was a cliff hanger wasn’t it? Today my life will change… and then not a word on how it went until now-about 2 1/2 weeks later. I survived it, and my life has changed, but in many ways, the changes are for the better.

Do I like giving myself the shots? No, Double NO!!!! I hate it.  But you do what you have to do, right? Actually, it’s not so much the shots that unnerve me, but the crazy things that occur while giving them. I most often give my subcutaneous shot in the stomach, and apparently, I have lots of capillaries there, because several times lately, I have ended up bruised. (Once horribly.) I can usually tell this is going to happen, when I bleed. Many times when I give the shot, I don’t bleed. (Those are the good ones.) But sometimes, for no real reason, the needle goes in, hurts a little, and leaves blood behind. That’s when I usually bruise. The nurse said that it happens sometimes, and that the concern would be if  it happens too often.  She did not define what “too often” was.

The good news is that the needles are small-both in width and length. I believe they are 31 gauge and 3/16″-the smallest needles available for this sort of thing. It’s a good thing, because I don’t think I would have tolerated long needles very well. (Too many things for them to hit accidentally.)

But the even better news is that I did not have to go on insulin. 🙂 I asked about the Byetta (mentioned in the previous post) and my doctor said that we could give it a try. The benefits? There are 2 that really mean a lot. One is that it is not as likely to cause lows, unless you are taking it with certain medications that contribute to that, and I’m not. I’m on Januvia and Metformin (Glucophage), and those do not cause lows. You could experience an occasional low with Byetta, but not at all with the frequency of insulin. That is a real blessing. Secondly, while insulin makes you gain weight (a known fact), Byetta may contribute to weight loss by suppressing the appetite. While it does not do this for everyone, at least you won’t gain weight, which just adds to the Catch-22 of diabetes.

The chemical action of Byetta (which I affectionately call “Gilly”) was first discovered in the spit of a Gila Monster. (Pronounced “Hee-lah Monster.”  Trust me, you can’t make this stuff up.) It seems that the Gila Monster only eats about 2 or 3 times a year, and scientists thought he had a good thing going. I mean after all, his stomach must empty very slowly. So they somehow translated this discovery into help for diabetics. Byetta is a fairly safe, synthetic version of the lizard spit (which by the way is highly poisonous.) It slows down digestion and the emptying of the stomach, and also helps the pancreas produce the right amount of insulin, while telling the liver not to make so much glucose. It had to be a God-inspired discovery.

But, the bad news…it makes lots of people extremely nauseated. Is there much else worse than death, seriously? But guess what? I didn’t get nauseated!!!!!! God is good. So far, so good. I am only on 5 mcg, and a full dose is 10 mcg, but for right now my doctor is keeping me on the lower dose, since I lost 2 pounds in 2 weeks, and it started to bring my blood sugars down considerably. They are not normal yet, but at least they are moving in the right direction. I started in the 300s, and now I am under 200 for the most part, with an occasional higher reading. Normal is 70-120, with damage to organs possible at 140 and over. So I have a ways to go. Some people get very nauseated when they move up to the 10 mcg. But right now I don’t have to worry about that.

I use a Byetta pen that shoots a premeasured dose, and can be used for 30 days. Sometimes I’ve had bubble problems, but it’s not the same as when you’re shooting into a vein. Still, I don’t like seeing bubbles in the cartridge. Dialing the dose is very easy, and while sometimes the shots sting, often they don’t. So all in all, I’m adjusting. Still, there’s that psychological thing of sticking a needle in yourself. It goes against nature…yes? (At least my nature.)

But actually, Gilly and I are tolerating each other rather well, all things considered.  I mean a girly-girl and a lizard don’t have a lot in common, but we are trying to get used to each other.  After all, I always had a crush on the Geico Gecko anyway…

So here I sit at the computer at 3:00 a.m. in the morning, anticipating how my life is going to change later today. I have an appointment with my doctor around 2:30 p.m., concerning my blood sugar, which has spiked totally out of control for the past several weeks. Being the daughter of an insulin dependent diabetic mother and father has not given me a fair chance in the gene pool by any means.

I have been on oral diabetes drugs for years. I think neither my husband nor I really accepted my initial diabetes diagnosis, because it was not given in the usual way. No blood glucose testing was done. I was just very tired, and not feeling well, and my doctor then put me on Glucophage. As the years played out, and the stress piled on, the diagnosis was confirmed. However, for quite awhile, with oral medication, my blood sugar was fairly well controlled.

But that has changed in recent years, and I fear that I may have waited too long (even now) to care for myself as I need to do. When my dad died almost 4 years ago, my ailing, widowed mom became my focus, and the stress was even greater than it had been through the frustrating years of trying to raise my adopted daughter, with a diagnosis of reactive attachment disorder. Her rebellion and defiance left our household in chaos for 15 years, after we adopted her at age 3. I developed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acid reflux, depression–you name it. As soon as she was finally raised and out of the house, I inherited the care of my mom. Though she still lived at home, she was my life focus, whether awake or asleep. Frequent crisis calls, terrifying emergencies, extreme low blood sugar episodes, and other constant health problems, left me overwhelmed and exhausted. She broke her right foot, left leg, and left hip all within a few months last year, and I think that is when she also broke my heart. I could not deal with her anymore. She refused to use her walker consistently, she was always in an angry mood, she was very beliggerant while in the nursing home, and then she became incontinent and developed dementia. Her emotional abuse of me increased. Nothing I would do was good enough. As I was preparing her Assisted Living apartment for her, we had a falling out. She called me names, and I gave up. I knew that I could not do this for even one more day. I called on my brother to step up, and provide the little care that she would require in Assisted Living.  But he smelled blood in the water, and went in for the kill. He promptly moved her back into her home, so that he would not lose it as his only inheritance. Paying for the AL would have required the house to be sold, and this was not on his agenda. He told me to “Piss Off” when I inquired about caregivers for her. (Yes, he is a lovely person.)

At any rate, this estrangement has been complete since November.  I changed my phone numbers, and did the only thing I could do to save my own life-I disengaged from the miserable situation. I was about to lose my health and sanity. I could no longer take my mother’s emotional abuse, or her favortism of my brother, who did practically nothing for 3 1/2 years, but purchase and then eat her groceries. He was her Golden Boy, and I was Cinderella (before the ball and the handsome prince.) I was the Scapegoat, and the whipping boy for all her frustrations. I had always been the mother, taking care of her, and afraid to make her unhappy. But I had finally had enough.

To walk away from the situation was not to leave behind the heartache, or the physical consequences. It has taken me the past 5 months to grieve the mother I never had, and to process the anger for the brother who treated me so terribly. Jealousy and hatred were spewed toward me with no explanation, and as long as I live, I will never understand why. He is 8 years younger than me, and I adored him as a child, but never really knew him as an adult, due to his lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, and bad choices. Still I loved him from afar. He has changed that way of living considerably, and I told him many times how proud I am of the changes. But his hatred of me is deep.

So, though I knew I had to get out of this situation for my health and sanity, leaving brought its own stresses. I have cried and grieved these many months, trying to make sense of the senseless–trying to understand why my mother treated me as she did all my life. I have studied Narcissism, and learned a great deal about the dynamics in our family.  I have also desperately tried to make a new existence for myself–to do some things that make me happy, and to spend more time with my husband. Still the worry, stress, and tension of the whole situation has taken its toll. I knew that I could not sweep my feelings under the rug, and pretend I wasn’t affected by all of this. I would have become even more sick then, no doubt.

So I have tried to handle it the only way I know-by walking through it, feeling the pain, experiencing the grief and loss, and dealing with the hurt and anger to the best of my ability. Forgiveness is (for me) a process. I’m not really sure how I have survived, but the heart is stronger than we think. And God gives the grace.  But my health has suffered greatly through the whole ordeal.

So today ,I find myself facing something that I hoped would never happen. I am probably going to have to go on the needle for my diabetes, as the alternative is organ damage and impaired vision or worse. I have come to the place where I am afraid to let it continue, because I am well aware of the ravages of the disease, having watched its effects for years on my mother’s health. Before I was more afraid of the needle–now I am more afraid of the disease.

I am wondering if I am a candidate for Byetta, which is a little different than insulin. About half of the people that go on it suffer nausea, and nausea sometimes makes you wish you were comatose. But Byetta also doesn’t cause weight gain like insulin does, and in fact, may contribute to weight loss, if you can tolerate it, and that’s a BIG if. I will get my doctor’s perspective on it.

So I feel like a lamb going to the slaughter, for whatever the choice for the needle, my life is going to change considerably. And I am familiar with the lows that can occur, having many times experienced bringing my mother out of hers, in frequent frightening situations. I am alone a lot, and fear what could happen, but I cannot change a thing about it. I guess you could say that I am resigned at this point, because I know  that I have no other choice, and I also know the consequences of not dealing with the high blood sugar.

So I ask for your prayers that I will face this with determination, grace, and strength. And that God will take away my fears, and help me through this time in my life. Of course, I pray for a complete healing as well. I need to finally take care of myself now, and focus on my own health and future.

Today is a day that I won’t soon forget… I have to lay it down, Lord…

I’ve been looking ’til my eyes are tired of looking
Listening ’til my ears are numb from listening
Praying ’til my knees are sore from kneeling
On the bedroom floor

I know that You know that my heart is aching
I’m running out of tears and my will is breaking
I don’t think that I can carry
The burden of it anymore

All of my hopes and my dreams and my best laid plans
Are slowly slipping through my folded hands

Chorus
So I’m gonna lay it down
I’m gonna learn to trust You now
What else can I do
Everything I am depends on You
And if the sun don’t come back up
I know Your love will be enough
I’m gonna let it be, I’m gonna let it go
I’m gonna lay it down

I’ve been walking through this world like I’m barely living
Buried in the doubt of this hole I’ve been digging
But You’re pulling me out and I’m finally breathing
In the open air

This room may be dark but I’m finally seeing
There’s a new ray of hope and now I’m believing
That the past is the past and the future’s beginning to look brighter now

‘Cause all of my hopes and my dreams and my best laid plans
Are safe and secure when I place them in Your hands

Chorus
So I’m gonna lay it down
I’m gonna learn to trust You now
What else can I do
Everything I am depends on You
And if the sun don’t come back up
I know Your love will be enough
I’m gonna let it be, I’m gonna let it go
I’m gonna lay it down