Wednesday 29 August 2012

One More Complication (that I know of)

I have been very hesitant in publishing this post.  Not only do I feel that a lot of my posts are quite depressing, it involves a part of my body that I have always been very self conscious about.  When asked if I would ever have plastic surgery the only thing that I would ever have done is to this part of me.  It is my TEETH!  Ever since my adult teeth came in I have not been overly fond of them.  Every dentist I have seen has always commented on how small my teeth are, like a child's.  The tooth to the right of my big tooth grew in as a peg so I have always had to have a cap over it.  The second tooth to my left big tooth is still a baby tooth and looks terrible.  Rarely will you see a picture of me smiling with my teeth showing.  Silly yes, but very real to me.

So with that background you may understand why the complications I have suffered with my teeth are slightly devastating to me.  In January 2011, seven months before diagnosis, I was outside shovelling the ton of snow that had fallen on my walk the night before.  I had to shovel myself out of the house to get to work.  Well in true Jocelyn fashion, I somehow managed to slip and catch the shovel with my two front teeth (really, I should not be allowed to operate any kind of tool, I am the worlds biggest klutz...well maybe my sister is).  As soon as I took a breath of cold air the pain hit.  I had managed to chop, not chip, both front teeth in half.  I got myself together and made a call to a dentist near work and they agreed to see me right away.  

The dentist fixed my two front teeth beautifully and did an examination of the rest of my mouth.  She was interested to note that some of my gums were receding and felt that it was quite unusual for someone my age. She booked me in to have my gums sealed and sent me on my way.  Just three appointments and my benefits were used up!  

Fast forward twelve months.  I went to see a new dentist here near where I live with a few complaints.  I had noticed that my teeth felt "soft" and that my gums continued to recede.  I also had some mild pain in my teeth.  I have to say that the dentist was wonderful.  He took one look in my mouth and had me sit up.  He knew that I had always attended the dentist regularly and had never had a cavity in my life.  He knew something was up and wanted to know what had been going on.  I explained my entire story and we went through all the meds I was on at the time.  He then proceeded to tell me that I had some serious damage to my teeth.  About eight cavities, serious gum receding, a rotten baby tooth and that the peg tooth under the cap was decaying.  I would have to have fillings, gum repair, two teeth pulled and two crowns put in.  I was shocked.  How could all of this had happened in only twelve months?  He explained that diabetes does take a toll on a persons teeth as fluctuating blood sugars and the use of man made insulin effects them.  However he said that it usually is a very slow process that can be managed with regular check-ups and work.  He felt that going undiagnosed had taken a serious toll on my teeth.  Also I was on a very high dosage of Neurontin for my nerves at that time and he said that Neurontin can actually rot the teeth. Great. In trying to fix one problem another one had been caused.

The dentist laid out my treatment plan to get my teeth back into shape...fifteen appointments were scheduled.  I attended my first appointment, was frozen to the eyeballs and had some work done on my top right gums and teeth.  During my second appointment he finished the work that he had started in the previous appointment and filled one of the eight cavities.  I went to check out and was stopped by the receptionist.  I owed $280!  I had never thought much about how much all of the work was going to cost and was stunned to see that I had already burned through my coverage.  I asked them if they could give me an estimate of how much it would be to get all of the work done.  They advised it would be anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000 of work.  They confirmed that Alberta Health won't cover my dental costs even though the damage was as a result of my disease.  I cancelled my remaining appointments and left in tears.

That day was a bad one.  I was mad, so damn mad.  I really felt at that moment the world was against me.  I had been through hell in a period of six months and felt like I had been punched in the stomach once again.

It won't be long until December comes and my coverage kicks in again.  I will return and see what is desperately needed to be done and then wait it out again.  My teeth bug me on a daily basis, but the pain is not too bad. I am worried about the two teeth that need to be removed and have crowns put on as they bug me the most, but unfortunately those are the most costly. 

Those who know me well know that I smile...a lot.  But I make a point now to never show my teeth.  It is a complication that I did not expect but now that I have done a lot of reading about it, it is quite common for people with Type 1 diabetes to suffer with teeth problems.  Is it fair?  Not at all.  There is not much I can do about it at this point so I try not to stress over it too much.

Well that is it folks.  Probably the most personal blog entry so far as the topic of my teeth is a sensitive one for me.  If any of you know a dentist that likes to do free work be sure to let me know! I can make a mean banana bread and peanut butter cookies!

Wordless Wednesday

Hee hee.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Totally Pumped for my Pump!

Cheesy title I know, but it is exactly how I feel right now.  I am officially going to be pumping insulin by the end of October!  

I knew as soon as I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes that I would eventually want to go onto pump therapy.  Not only will it mean not having to stab myself with needles four to six times per day, it means that I will have more freedom and flexibility when it comes to my eating schedule and exercise regime.  On injections it has been very frustrating for me to return to the level of activity that I want to.  I find that after running for about 10km my blood sugars tank.  I know that I can eat carbs to help stop this, but who wants to mow through carbs for a run less than an hour?  Also I have found that I have to eat on schedule otherwise my sugars either crash or fly sky high.  Being on a pump will mean I can eat when it works for me, accurately dose for the carbs I eat and also I will be able to get back to long distance running and hopefully (if I get a bike), triathlons.  I know that being on the insulin pump won't take away the lows and highs, I know it will be just as much work (if not more) than daily injections, but it is going to be so worth it!!

I debated for some time over which pump would suit me best.  It was between Medtronic and Animas.  After doing a lot of research and consulting with each pump company I have decided to go with Animas.  The remote bolus ability and the fact that it is waterproof are what made me decide to go with the One Touch Ping.  I love that the pump will be able to tell me if I have insulin on board already to avoid stacking insulin and that I can adjust the basal rate depending on my planned activity.  I really love the thought of not using needles all of the time!  Sometimes my stomach and legs look like connect the dots with all the little bruises.  I was very impressed that both companies offer payment plans with no interest.  My family generously gifted me the down payment and then I have 30 months of payments to make.  This has taken a lot of stress off my shoulders and given me the ability to go ahead with it all.

I have to admit that I am very nervous.  It is going to be a huge learning curve and it will be strange to have a device attached to me all of the time.  I have about a bazillion questions and am sure that I will drive my diabetic educators, Animas rep and friends that have experience with pumps nuts.  I will get the pump during the first week of October and then attend the Grey Nuns on October 25 for my pre-pump training.  They will then send me home with the pump and saline solution so I can practice all of the features.  I will then return on October 30 and start pumping real insulin.  Only two months and eight days of injections to go :) 

Thursday 16 August 2012

That Hungover Feeling

This morning when I woke up I felt like I had polished off a bottle of wine chased down by some shots, ugh.  The thing is I had not had a drop of alcohol and was suffering with only what I can describe as a diabetic hangover.

The night before I was on the phone with my Dad around 9:30pm.  That day I had ran 10km at lunch and then went to my weight/tabata class after work.  As usual I had bolused conservatively.  I had checked my blood sugar at 9:00pm and it had been a pleasant 6.1.  Perfect.  Or not!  My Dad was chatting away and all of a sudden I noticed my right hand was shaking, then I went very hot and it was like someone opened the taps.  Sweat started to pour off me.  My face, arms, stomach and legs were streaming with sweat.  I knew it was a bad one and did not bother to even check what my sugars were at.  I lunged forward, grabbed my glucose and choked four of them down.  He was still yacking on and did not notice what he was talking about until he asked me a question.  I had trouble registering what he was saying and when I tried to talk it was like I had peanut butter in my mouth.  My brain was having difficult communicating with my mouth and my body was very weak.  I tried to explain I was suffering with a bad low blood sugar and would have to go.  He was pretty concerned but I explained in a slurry voice that I was treating it but needed to lie down before I passed out.

After another two glucose tabs and some juice I was up to 5.8 half an hour later.  I felt like garbage and was completely exhausted, not to mention soaked from all the sweat.  I ate a large banana and got myself into bed to read.  I had trouble falling asleep as my mind worried about the bad low I had just experienced and my fear of being alone when this happens was strong.  Once I was asleep I don't think I moved (except once when my dog Basil fell off the bed, he must have been rolling around in his sleep).  When my alarm went off I seriously felt like I had been partying hard all night.  It took a lot of willpower to get up and ready for work.  I felt like serious crap all morning, but forced myself out for a 10km run at lunch and as predicted I feel great now.  Not sure what happened last night, but it scared me...and frustrates me.  I know that this is going to be an ongoing thing for the rest of my life and that really makes me mad and sad at the same time. 

The good thing is that this kind of hangover does not require more booze or a pile of grease to feel better.  Just time, good food and some exercise :)

Wednesday 8 August 2012

The Diabetic Roller-Coaster

Yesterday was comparable to being on a roller-coaster in the dark, diabetes wise that is.    I went to bed the night before with a respectable 8.1 blood sugar.  I like to go to bed between 8.0 and 9.0 as it usually prevents a low in the night and almost always guarantees I wake up between 4.5 and 5.0.  Not yesterday!  

I woke up, checked my sugar and it was 8.8.  Not too bad but unusual for me.  Got to work, bolused for my blueberries with yoghurt as usual.  Checked two hours later and was at 14.6.  As I was running at lunch did a conservative bolus of 1.5 units.  Checked blood sugar an hour later before my run and was at 15.0.  WTF?  I knew I should probably not run, but as I have mentioned before I am super stubborn and I wanted to get this blood sugar down.  My head was hurting somewhat because of the high, but I strapped on my shoes and off I went (totally off topic but it was 34 degrees with the humidex, damn it was hot!!).  Tested after the run and finally it had dropped to 7.8.  I bolused, with a slight correction, for my lunch.  Tested two hours later and I was at 12.0.  Still higher than it should be.  I was heading to the gym after work for a short bike and an hour of weights so I did not want to correct.  Finished my workout and was 5.6 before supper, perfect!  Had a salad and apple for supper and bolused accordingly.  Tested about three hours later before bed and was at 14.9, explains the headache and thirst.  I literally threw my hands in the air and cursed a lot.  I decided to correct with 1.5 units and figured that should at least bring me down to 10. Well the fun continued from there.  I went to bed to read and all of a sudden the pages got blurry and I started to shake.  Tested and was at 2.6 - only an hour before I had been over 14!  Choked back some glucose and a banana and lay shaking and sweating until the low passed.  By this time I was completely exhausted from a day of unpredictable and unexplainable sugar patterns.  

Woke up this morning at a lovely 5.5 and things have been good so far.  Not sure what was different about yesterday!  I think it is just diabetes way of reminding you that it is there and will sometimes do whatever it wants.  Frustrating to say the least.