Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My 3 day Pump Experience!

Being a caregiver to your spouse is not an easy job to take on. It is emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausting. There are so many things that go into it. The care giving alone is a hard job, but when it is your spouse, a separate set of struggles are brought with it. Your spouse is supposed to be the person who helps you keep a home, build a family, and be your other half in this crazy world. Can Vince do these things for me? Mostly, yes. He is my emotional rock. He keeps me sane in this crazy world. Having him there to go home to at the end of a long day, having him to hold me when I just need a hug to make it all better, and having someone who can make me laugh through my tears are all things that I wouldn’t change for the world. He even helps keep us going financially. Without his social security, we would not make it on our own as my income alone is simply not enough to live on. I try to remind him of this whenever he says he feels bad that he can’t work and support his family as the man of the house should.

I don’t like to admit it too often, but when your spouse is disabled, it can leave you feeling alone at times. Even after all the things I just mentioned that he does for me, our marriage is still different. It is not your traditional relationship. Care giving brings a whole new set of issues, stresses, expense, and emotional toll that can be hard to understand to people on the outside looking in. I myself live with Anxiety and ADHD and it gets the best of me way more than I would like to admit. I struggle to keep myself in check and to have patience with Vince day after day. I can’t feel his pain or his numb limbs. I don’t know what it feels like to have to use canes and a walker at the age of 34. I do not feel the endless needle sticks. I don’t have to keep track of carbohydrate counting as closely as he does and worry about feeling crappy if I am high or low. I do not have to accept that I can’t work, or go to church, or see the family whenever I feel like it. Most of these struggles Vince deals with are things I can never take on and feel for him. I wish I could take all these things from him so he could have a normal life, but I can’t, and that is what makes it so hard for me to be understanding and patient day after day and frustration kicks in on my part more than I’d like to admit. As much as I do know more than anyone what he goes through hour by hour, I will never know it first-hand.

This is why I decided to wear his insulin pump. He just got a new, upgraded pump so we now have two and it was the perfect opportunity for me. Being with Vince almost 24/7, I thought I understood. I thought I knew why people get diabetes burn out. I am always reminding him of things he needs to do to keep going. I even have to do all his injections for him. Due to his complications, I am extremely involved with his day to day care and safety. I thought I surely understood. I live it with him and watch his blood sugars as closely as he does, right? Well, wearing a pump 24/7 for 3 days gave me a chance to get a glimpse into what he deals with. It is such a small part of all the things he has to deal with day after day, but it is something I can do in order to see what he is going through. I don’t think a lot of people understood why I decided to do this. I tried to explain but again, no one quite understands our life as a whole.

Now that I am at the other end of the needle, I understand a bit more fully than I ever thought I would.

With the help of our awesome pump trainer and nutritionist, I loaded up the pump with saline and prepared my belly. I was scared to push the button. I have done it a thousand times on Vince. I can do it with my eyes closed. But now the needle was going into ME! She placed her hand near mine and asked if I could do it or if I wanted her to push the button. I said I could do it. Heck, if it hurts, I rather hurt myself, right? I took a deep breath and “Click!” I did it. I laughed a little when I realized it didn’t even hurt. How silly I was. I finished attaching the pump and tape and kinda looked at her and Vince like, that’s it? Wow. I really thought that was going to hurt! So I clipped it onto my shorts and went about my day in amazement that I hardly noticed I had this machine attached to my stomach! I always call Vince a robot because of the devices he is hooked up to. It makes us both laugh, and we need all the laughter we can get to stay sane, so if that means acting like kids, then so be it. All day long I kept saying to Vince, “I am a robot like you!”

Over the next 3 days, I tested my blood sugar and counted carbs just as Vince does and used the pump to dose each meal. I tested myself about 3-4 times a day. I have to admit that I did cheat a little bit. At times, I can be a grazer. I will eat a little bit all day long. I quickly realized this would not work if I was truly a Type 1. So yes I cheated. I ate from time to time and didn’t test myself or bolus. The least favorite part of the 3 days was poking my finger. Although I got used to it more so by the third day, it hurts! No wonder Vince relies on his CGM so much. It’s not the right way to do things, but it works so I can see why he does it. I can no longer get mad. I’d do the same thing if I were him and I knew it was reliable enough to do so.

So the things I found difficult over the 3 days:

Overall the pump is not in the way however night time and changing clothes is something to get used to. Not a big deal though. Vince gave me tips to make it easier

Counting carbs is more tedious than I thought. Vince normally does most of that

Strips strips every where. No wonder these things are all over my house. I picked one up to throw it away and lost it by the time I walked to the trash can!

Packed my lunch for work and had to take a mental note of the carbs I was putting in baggies etc. if I were actually on insulin, I would have made a note and put it in my lunch bag with the exact numbers. Vince does most if not all of the carb counting and guesstimating and he has been doing it so long that he knows most foods, but it is still hard to guess with certain things. Especially a casserole. Or something where you don’t have the packaging.

If I were diabetic, the pump would be a must. I couldn’t even tell it was there. Having to carry insulin and needles everywhere and injecting all day long wouldn’t cut it. With the press of a button on the pump, everything is done. Quick and easy and never forget insulin at home. One needle every 2-3 days. So much better! Not to mention the control down to the hour you have vs multiple daily injections.

I think I will do it a few times a year to keep it fresh in my mind. Anything I can do to have more patience with him and be a better caregiver and wife, I am willing to do it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A New Journey

A journey that I never thought I would attempt has become a reality.


I struggled in school. Academically and socially. I was the quiet one with just a few friends. Luckily, I went to a great high school and the kids were mostly from decent families. I was extremely quiet and shy and borderline nerdy, but I was never teased. I hung in the background and was overlooked and I didn’t mind it being that way. Academically, I struggled. I was a B/C student who knew I would only get my A in an elective class. I never understood why school was so hard for me but I accepted it and moved forward. When I graduated from high school, I was so glad it was over and knew college wasn’t for me. School was hard for me. Now that I had “done my time” I surely wasn’t going back voluntarily.

Jump ahead 12 years to 2014. This year I turned 30 and I finally got my answer. I finally knew why school was so hard for me.

I have ADHD.

I am told by my doctor that I have always had it and it went undiagnosed.

Looking back now, it all starts to make sense.

My comprehension is poor. No matter how hard I try to concentrate and pay attention, I just couldn’t do it. Read a book or text and take a test on it? Yeah right. My teachers must have thought I was the laziest student around! There was no way I could have read the material and still failed the test so miserably. I will admit, it even got to the point in my later high school years that I wouldn’t even read the assigned book if I thought I wasn’t going to understand it. I failed the test and moved on. I always did well on home work and projects so that balanced out the failed tests in the end.
Then you have the nice teachers who let you watch the movie in class instead of reading the book. Most students would do pretty well on that test, but not me. If I didn’t fall asleep, I couldn’t follow anything that was going on. To this day, I can’t follow movies without asking my poor hubby what the heck is going on. Lastly, one test I don’t think I will ever forget was an open book History test. I don’t remember which grade it was, but I will never forget how dumb I felt and how much of a failure I felt when I got that test back. A 30% on an open book test?!?!?! How is that possible??!!

Now that I have a diagnosis and treatment, I have the confidence I needed to go to college. I would love to go into the healthcare field, however, I am finding that a lot, if not most, of those programs require clinical hours and I can’t figure out how I would fit that in while working full time day hours. For now, I am a business major. I am tossing around a few ideas of which direction I can go. I would love to still incorporate the healthcare field so I am considering counseling or human resources but I have yet to decide. I still have plenty of time. At this point, I am just going to start with my core classes and see how that goes.

This is a huge step for me, but I am very excited and can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's Starting To Make Sense

I recently turned 30 and it made me think about all that I learned in my 20’s. I don’t know if this is the same for all people, but I learned so much about myself in my 20’s. More than I ever imagined I would. I have grown emotionally in ways that I am very proud. I have learned to stand up for myself and my feelings. This is something I have struggled with since I was little. It will always be a struggle, but I have come so far. One of the things I learned about myself and recognized is that I have Anxiety and ADHD. I was pretty aware of the Anxiety in my early 20’s. It is something that runs heavily in my family so it was very easy to spot. Once I finally went to the doctor, it was confirmed and I began treatment.

My ADHD story was not as short though. This is something that I have suspected for the last few years. Without realizing it, I had learned to live with it and adjust my behaviors and actions and even make excuses for it. It wasn’t until my therapist mentioned it, that I thought my suspicions might be valid. Once I became more aware of it and saw a doctor for treatment, all of the symptoms made sense for once. Even though my symptoms are still present (since I only chose to take the medication as needed, such as a busy work day or on a school day) learning to pay attention to them has helped me in many ways. My poor self-esteem that crept about was even a symptom to my surprise.

I learned that I had this since I was young and the symptoms were just dismissed. I struggled in school to get B’s and C’s. That’s just Sandy. She is a B/C student. I assumed I was not smart enough for college. I am “a blonde” and I am “dense”. That’s just Sandy. I would forget my head if it wasn’t attached. That’s just Sandy. I can’t pay attention to anything it seems. Again, even though this is the major symptom, that’s just Sandy. I would struggle to sit through a movie at the theatre, especially one that didn’t capture my interest completely. I would twist and turn in my seat, count how many minutes till the end, or even just give up and go to sleep. I figured that was normal. It wasn’t until very recently, I thought to try my new ADHD medication for a movie, and boy, when I say it was like night and day, that is an understatement. I actually enjoyed the darn movie and it was a long one. I normally dread long movies. Once again, things started to make sense!

I will always have ADHD and Anxiety, but I am learning that by controlling as much as you can in your environment, you can control the diseases quite a bit. I have accepted the fact that I will most likely have to take medications of some sort, for the rest of my life, however I have learned that if I eliminate as many of the stressors in my life as I can, doing so can decrease my symptoms and in turn decrease my medication dose.

In recent years, I never would have agreed and didn’t agree when people told me this was possible; changing your environment to ease the symptoms. It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s a life changing decision to remove yourself from stressful people and stressful environments, but it has proven to be a necessity and has worked for me! It will need to be something that I continue to do throughout my life, but if I stay aware of the triggers and are able to change them, I am realizing that I DO in fact have some control over these diseases.

Having anxiety, I have always struggled with accepting that I live with this condition. I hate that I do not have control over my thoughts and feelings and hate that I have this disease. Not having control over my brain has made me feel like a major failure. Now, with the help of therapy and making changes in my life, I learned that I have a little bit of control. Knowing this makes it much easier to accept my disease and deal with it.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Falling FInally Got The Best Of Him

Well, he got his crutches, and uses them a lot, but mostly outside of the house. But three days ago, in the middle of the night, he fell in the bathroom again. (Wasn't using the crutches) He fell and fell hard. Ended up with an extrememly swollen foot and ankle and was sure he broke it.

I called the Podiatrist for an X-Ray. They know us well, so they got him in right away. Turns out he didn't break anything, but did tear a ligament. So, now he is in a walking boot for 10 days until his next check up. The walking boot is helping a lot but he says he can't use that with the crutches Grr As long he is careful, that is all I care about. I am really hoping no surgery will be needed, but we will know more once the swelling goes down. Lot's of ice for now.... and once this is over, he will be using at least one crutch all the time!! (doc said he could use 1 or 2 at a time) Thanks a lot Neuropathy!

And a quick shout out to my brother in law, John. He doesn't read this blog, but he has been a huge blessing to have around and has been a huge help with my taking care of Vince. It was just what we all needed and is working out FANTASTIC!

Also should mention that I have, for the first time ever, enrolled in college!! Should start this fall! More on that later in another post.....

My Communion and Confirmation are this Sunday! Pics to come...