Awareness Project, Day 1

Diabetes is inconvenient and annoying and I do not like it. The novelty wore off in, like, half an hour.

Disclosure: I am grumpy. I had a long day at work and our son has been sick with really bad asthma. It has been a stressful day. “Living” the T1D life did not help.

I am going to write a recap in bullet points because I am very tired. And stressed. And grumpy. So here goes:

-Apparently I cannot walk in a straight line. I clipped every single wall with either CGM or the pod. I did it repeatedly. I also keep struggling to get the purse handles over my shoulder because it gets stuck on the pod and I keep forgetting that I am wearing a pod. I am amazed I have not ripped anything off yet.

-Upon seeing my bionic parts people asked either “What is that?” or “What happened?” Upon hearing my explanation, most were really supportive. One gave me a puzzled look – not disapproving, just puzzled. No one asked me more questions, which was rather disappointing.

-Having to check my own BG and count my own carbs in addition to helping my daughter is way too much multitasking for me. I burned toast for breakfast. No, I charred it.

-My BG is really boring. I suppose it’s good news for me?

-I quickly realized that “pre-blousing” is the ONLY way to go. I need to figure out carbs, check BG and only then prepare and handle food.

-It is so damn inconvenient and annoying to have to check BG before I eat anything. I miss being able to just grab food and shove it in my mouth.

-I totally “over-bloused” myself for dinner. I thought I would eat rice and Kind Bar for dinner. However, after finishing rice I realized I was no longer hungry and did not want to eat the bar. It paralyzed me. If I had T1D for real I would have to eat something to make up for the carbs. I did nothing. Later in the evening I was a little hungry and wanted to finally eat that bar but did not know if I should just eat it because I already “bolused” for it or if I should check BG first. I ended up doing nothing. I get an F for my diabetes management today.

-Yes, I find checking BG inconvenient enough that I will skip eating just so I don’t have to do it.

-The cheapo give-away lancet device I am using does not have a function to eject the lancet. Eff it, I will use the same lancet all day long. Which I should not do because I’m on V’s case to change lancets every time, but I think that lack of ejection function is enough of a mitigating circumstance.

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Awareness Project: Getting Ready

I had a lot to get done to be ready for tomorrow’s launch of my Awareness Project. Since we rush in the morning to get out the door, I had to prep this weekend.  Actually, truth be told, I’d been thinking about this for a while, making plans in my head and figuring out what I would need to get and do to pull it off. First, I bought extra gluten-free foods so that there was enough for both of us for the week. I had to think about what I normally pack for lunch and what changes I’d have to make. That was not very difficult because when I make lunches at home, they are usually gluten-free anyway.  I either pack leftovers from meals or put together some cold cuts, veggies, dip and crackers. The next task was a bit more challenging. I took out all the supplies and diabetes paraphernalia out of V’s diabetes kit so that I could take an inventory and figure out what I needed to pack in my purse. It would come as no surprise that I gathered a lot of stuff to pack:

ALL the supplies! Insulin, glucagon, meter, strips, wipes, back-up pods, syringes, fast-acting sugars, oh my...

ALL the supplies! Insulin, glucagon, meter, strips, wipes, back-up pods, syringes, fast-acting sugars, oh my…

And then I looked at my purse and realized that I had a problem.

There is no way all this stuff would fit in here!

There is no way all this stuff would fit in here!

And I felt like this:

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Do you remember that Taco Bell commercial from the 90’s?

So I had to go out and buy a new, bigger purse!

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Once I stuffed all the diabetes stuff in the purse, I transferred my planner, wallet and a million little miscellaneous things from my old purse. I do not like that. I like my old purse thankyouverymuch. It feels all new and unfamiliar. But let this be the worst of my problems.

Then I decided to test out the lancing device, since I did not want to fumble with it when we are in a hurry in the morning. I set it to the lowest setting and hesitated for several minutes. “I want my mommy!”I whined and complained to my husband. He laughed and I finally poked myself. It was not bad and I drew a lot of blood. I had to apply pressure to stop the bleeding. What is up with that? Are there veins in the finger tips?

My next task was to put together my food for the day. This process involved an additional pain of measuring and weighing and counting and writing everything down. It took a little longer than usual, as expected. Just as I was thankful our diet was reasonable before V got diagnosed, I was thankful today that my diet was reasonable before this project. I did not have to make changes per se, I just needed to count everything exactly. On the menu for tomorrow are cold cuts, cheese, veggies, humus, crackers, chips, rice with chicken, a Kind Bar, and an apple. I don’t think I will starve…

This is lunch, snacks and dinner. Tomorrow I leave the house at 8 AM and won't get back until about 7:30 PM.

This is lunch, snacks and dinner. Tomorrow I leave the house at 8 AM and won’t get back until about 7:30 PM.

Last but not least, it was time to insert the CGM. The last thing I want to do tomorrow is fumble with it in a hurry. V did the honors and was practically giddy that she got to “hurt” me and make me suffer. We had a discussion about where to put the sensor. She wanted me to put it on my stomach but I felt it would be better if it were visible, so we agreed on the arm. It was good practice for V to insert the sensor and I felt surprisingly calm about it, except for a few seconds preceding the insertion. She did a great job because I felt the slightest pinch and that was that. And now I am armed and ready. Tomorrow I will stick on the demo Pod and V and I will become “twinsies”.

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Awareness Project

It happened a few weeks ago. “V can’t do it!” – a random flash of awareness hit me one day, as I was mindlessly reaching for a snack. If she wants a snack, she’d need to carefully measure it. She’d need to consider her BG and decide if a carb snack is worth it. She’d need to test and bolus. What is it like for her? And then an idea struck me: I need to walk a mile in her shoes. I need to experience as closely as possible what it’s like to live with her restrictions, routines and rules. I need to live my life like I have T1D: testing BG multiple times, counting my carbs, sticking to a reasonable amount of carbs per meal, saying no to things I may really want. I will do it for a day to see what it’s like, I thought. Almost a immediately a little voice in my head started screaming and laughing at me: No, one day is lame! Anyone can do anything for one day. It’s not really enough time to experience her life. Go big or go home – do at least one week. I relented. It only made sense that if I wanted to have a glimpse of lived experience, I needed to give it some time. I started to feel a mix of excitement, curiosity and apprehension about what was ahead, thinking of how much my life would change, even if just for one week.

And then a second flash of awareness hit me: crap, I have to go strictly gluten-free, too! With that realization, I wanted to backpedal immediately. No way, it is too much work, I don’t want to do it, it is not worth it. I am already stressed out, why would I want to add to my plate? But the same voice that told me to go for a week instead of a day told me to just shut up and stop whining. V is 9 years old. If she can do it every day, for almost two years now, I can do it for a week.

This is is how the idea of the Awareness Project was born. Starting Monday, February 9th, I will live my daughter’s T1D and gluten-free life for one week. I will check my BG multiple times a day. I will cary diabetes supplies with me. I will count the carbs. I will impose the same structure of 40-70 carbs per meal, plus some snacks. I will wear a CGM and a dummy Pod. I will follow a strict gluten-free diet and treat it as if I have Celiac and have to be mindful of cross-contamination. I will do everything in the open, which may invite questions, comments and discussions. I will be blogging about my experience daily, so stay tuned to Project Awareness week, with a special preview tomorrow as I get everything ready to go for Monday.

I am still filled with excitement, curiosity and apprehension. I am sure it will be a week to remember.

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