Share and Don't Share - D-Blog Week Day 1

Fourth Annual Diabetes Blog Week! (

Today's Prompt: Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one's daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don't see?

Hi Doc, thanks for dropping by my bit of the web. It's mostly filled with my ramblings about Apple and photography and other tech stuff. I write about diabetes-related things here as well. Things I try to talk to you about but either forget or for some reason you don't understand where I'm coming from. While you are here, there are some things I'd like to share with you.

If you poke around the site, Doc, you'll notice that I'm a geek. I'm one of those people who uses technology to make my life easier. I don't like doing things the hard way unless the hard way is better in some regard. So, yeah, I record all my data -- meals, BG readings, insulin dosage, etc. -- in apps. These apps allow me to spot trends like my average BG rising over two weeks or that my BG in the morning is unusually high but drops right before lunch. These apps allow me to share the data with others. Like, say, my physician. You.

But, it seems you have no interest in that. I couldn't believe it when you asked me to keep a paper log book! Like WTF! Is it 1953? So you think my life will diabetes will be better because I can carry around a notepad and a pencil with me everywhere instead of Apple's latest iPhone? Hey, Doc, check your BG. Perhaps you are in a hypoglycemic stupor. I know I've told you already, but it requires repeating -- I don't do lo-tech. I'll have a printout for our next appointment.

As a geek, I keep on the latest diabetes-related tech. I don't have an insulin pump or CGMS, but I do know which models are on the market, which are newer and what cool features they offer to help the person with diabetes have a more comfortable life. I wish I had an insulin pump to try out for a few weeks to see if it's for me. Or a CGMS. Come on Doc.

I'm doing great with MDI but the sometimes I wish I didn't have to carry two vials of insulin, a lancing device, test strips and a glucose meter with me EVERYWHERE. It would be nice if you even knew what diabetes meters were on the market. I think it's sad your assistant knows more about that than you do. And she's also willing to tell me how to get strips on discount. You're not doing a good enough job of keeping in mind. I'm feeling slighted.

One more thing before you walk out to ignore your other patients. There is something I haven't been telling you. I've started to look around for other doctors. Yeah, Doc, you're replaceable.

Diabetes Awareness Month — We're all in this together.

I have Type 1 (T1) diabetes.  Some people still like to call it Juvenile diabetes but I was diagnosed at thirty-nine.  I may behave juvenile but this disease is anything but.  That was four years ago. These days they call this thing latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA).  Why? Because I got it when I was older.  I've learned a lot — too much — about how food affects blood glucose (BG).  I've poked about a zillion holes in my body while testing my BG and injecting insulin.  Three times a day.  Or more.  Every day of every year for the last four years.  Yes, it sucks.  But it's what I have to do to stay alive.  You see, diabetes is incompatible with life. I read that somewhere.

So how did I get this way?  The great minds of our times are not sure.  They do know it has something to do with the immune system. Somehow, my body got tricked into believing that certain cells in my pancreas were foreign invaders and kicked off a crusade.  Slowly over time, the insulin-producing cells of my pancreas are being killed off.  Eventually, they will be all gone.  Turns out those cells are very important.

Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood, storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle.

In other words, without insulin, my body can't absorb the glucose energy it needs.  Without insulin, my blood sugar would continue to rise creating quite a toxic soup in the bloodstream.  Untreated over time, the brain, liver and other organs start to starve.  Badly managed, diabetes can lead to blindness and the loss of other body parts.  Like arms and legs.  It's really not a good feeling.  My body knew this couldn't continue so it tried to flush out the excess blood with water.  I was thirsty all the time. Just before I was diagnosed I was drinking a few gallons of water a day.  Imagine being on one massive water detox diets for weeks.  Yes, that sucked too but at least I had lost thirty (30) pounds.

On the morning of July 15, 2006, I was trying to brush my teeth.  I couldn't muster up the strength to lift my arm.  I admit I was concerned.  And so was my wife who was already on the phone calling our family physician, Dr. Anthony Frisoli.  Normally when I visit this guy, which was about once a year — did I mention that before T1 I was almost never sick — his nurses like to check my pulse and blood pressure.  Not this time.

We were whisked — it was more like zombie drag since I had such little energy — into a visiting room and someone started taking a blood sample.  I brushed off this lack of medical foreplay while the doctor asked me questions about symptoms.  He left and came back minutes later with some great news.  "You're not gonna die".  Yippee.  Then he told me I had diabetes.  Frack!  "Your blood glucose is over 500".  Frack!

I spent about two (2) days in the hospital hooked up to an insulin drip.  The hospital endocrinologist let me start eating again on day two while the nurses started my diabetes education.  Carb counting.  How to use insulin vials and needles!  FRACK NO! Give me one of those damn pens I see you poking me with.

At home, over the next few weeks, I learned to read the label of every fracking piece of food that goes into my mouth.  Pay attention to the carbs, not the sugars.  All food is converted into glucose for use by the body.  If I eat too many calories my body will convert excess glucose into fat.

On many occasions back then — and still so today — I would get warm all over, sweat all over, and start to shake like a Hawaiian dancer.  Oh yeah! Hypoglycemia — low blood glucose! Sometimes known as "I fracked up, misjudged the food and took too much insulin". Scary shit that!   If I could visualise hypoglycemia it would be the equivalent of leaving your baby at the Umbrella Corp daycare.  Used to freak the wife out and scare the kids but not anymore.  Now they just run and get me some chocolate.  Yummy!

Since no one else in my immediate family had diabetes, I started to feel a little lonely.  So I turned to my best friend — the Internet. I found some folks in a similar situation — older people with a young disease.  Amy Tenderich blogged about her situation and provided useful informational resources.  On one blog posting, she mentioned the community work being done by Manny Hernandez.  Manny had recently launched a web site called TuDiabetes — a social network for people touched by diabetes.  I was member number twenty-two.  It was here that I discovered the early members of what would become the diabetes online community (DOC).  Thanks, Amy, Manny, George (ninjabetic) Simmons, Bernard, Kerri, and other members of the DOC!  I've never met these people and yet, I feel strongly connected to them.

  I am 44 years old this year.  I was born in November which as it turns out is also Diabetes Awareness Month.  The [DOC is buzzing with blog posts] and tweets and meet-ups.  There is already a flurry of activity on TwitterTuDiabetes, and on Facebook. Through the first few weeks of November, during the Big Blue Test, millions of people with diabetes around the world will attempt to break the record for the largest number of holes poked in a finger. It will be the largest "Ouch!" heard around the world.  And I want it to be loud.

I want the world to hear us.  I want to scream loudly. "I WANT A FRACKING CURE ALREADY!".

Sorry, major emotional outburst there.  I don't want to live with this disease anymore.  I'm sick — literally — and tired of it.  We're going to keep talking about it until you are sick and tired of hearing about it. We want you, the ignorant, poorly informed public to get educated and involved. Open your ears and eyes.  Diabetes is all around you.  It's on your street, your block, your neighbourhood, your schools, your offices. Do something!

Here's how.  Support organisations that are funding research into a cure — like the JDRF or the Joslin Diabetes Centre.  Volunteer or get involved in one of the fundraising efforts.  I'm raising funds now. You can help me by making a donation to my walk team.  Donate to organisations like the Diabetes Hands Foundation that works to raise awareness of the disease.  Just do something!

In the meantime, I will continue to poke holes, study food labels, and keep hoping.

[DOC is buzzing with blog posts]: http://diab


On or about June 14th, 2006, I was diagnosed with _Diabetes Mellitus;_ Type 1 diabetes. The doctors called it sudden onset diabetes. Yep, it sure was sudden.

On or about June 14th, 2006, I was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus; Type 1 diabetes. The doctors called it sudden onset diabetes. Yep, it sure was sudden.

I had been taking an antibiotic to treat an upper respiratory infection. The antibiotic Levaquin has some side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Taste Problems
  • Dry Mouth

I was on Levaquin for 10 days, so my symptoms were expected. I also lost a little weight..actually looking back, it was a lot of weight, but I chalked that up to not eating. After all, my tongue had a bitter taste, and I was not eating much. I was also drinking a lot of water. At least 80 ounces a day and frequent (every 15 minutes) trips to the bathroom. My symptoms continued for another week before I finally decided to go see a doctor. Two days before that, I was scheduled to donate blood. So I made my donation, and after sucking down two glasses of apple juice and a bottle of Gatorade, I made it back to my desk. Fifteen minutes later, I felt woozy while finishing another trip to the men's room. I stumbled back to the nurses' station, where I was given another glass of sweet apple juice. Afterwards, I went home because I was feeling drained.

The next day, I woke up feeling much more tired. Too tired to even get dressed for work. I asked my wife to take me to the doctor that day and not wait.

As I said above: "On or about June 14th,2 006 I was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus; Type 1 diabetes. The doctors called it sudden onset diabetes. Yep, it sure was sudden."