Thursday, April 12, 2012

WEGO Health Activist Writer's Challenge Month - Day 12

I'm participating in the WEGO Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge. Today’s topic: Stream of Consciousness.

That's a good topic for me because today was a rough one. Here goes:

So why is it so hard? I needed to get lab work done three months ago and I left the order sitting on my desk. I knew right where it was. I made an appointment to go to the lab, but I never made it. And I didn’t reschedule. I hate lab tests. It’s hard for me to force myself to go.

It’s not the blood test chair or the blue elastic being wrapped around my arm. It’s not the needle stick, which while unpleasant isn’t a big deal compared to all the other shit I’ve been through. I don’t mind the friendly staff at the lab, although they can tease me a little harder than I like. I tend toward the more sensitive/serious side of the spectrum rather than the lighthearted/fun loving side of life, so I don’t always understand teasing. I tend to either get confused by it, or hurt. 

It’s not getting to the appointment itself that is hard. The drive is easy. Not a lot of stop lights or traffic on the route. So, why do I put off my lab appointments? I think the reason is lab tests are more medical intervention and I’ve had more than I can stand all ready. Going to the lab means waiting for test results and I have no control over the outcome. Will they be good news, proof my efforts are making a difference? Will it be bad news, proof my efforts are making no difference whatsoever?

It’s the internal judgement factor of seeing my health and lifestyle reduced to numbers that I can’t stand. Reduce this problem to the lowest common denominator, which is numbers in and out of range. Something is always out of range. Trying to live inside a body that has both myasthenia gravis and diabetes is so hard I would not wish this on the devil himself. No one deserves to do this. No one should ever do this. It’s too hard. The questions are overwhelming all the time.

“If I give myself insulin to cover the carbs in this sandwich, what if I can’t swallow in the middle of eating it? Then I’ll have too much insulin and no way to eat anymore.” That has got to be the number one reason I want an insulin pump. I had that happen on Saturday and it scared me to death. I bolused for a whole sandwich and only could swallow half of it, so I had too much insulin in my body with no way of eating more carbs. I couldn’t swallow juice to fix it because I choked on the thin liquid. I just couldn’t coordinate the muscles in my mouth to let me swallow. So, I went low.

Fortunately I didn’t have a lot of insulin on board when that happened. But what about next time? What if I inject enough insulin to cover 60 grams of carbs and only eat 25 before the muscles in my mouth shut down and I cannot eat anymore? I eat my carbs first, but this doesn’t always work.

Most of the time, carbs are physically hard to eat. Carbs are in things like rice and cereals. Rice is hard to eat. It turns into little bits inside my mouth and then I have to chase them with my tongue. My weak tongue gets tired and I can’t eat anymore. Cereal is what is called a mixed food, having a liquid and a solid at the same time. My mouth cannot deal with the thin milk and the chunky cereal. The milk goes up my nose, and the cereal ends up in my lungs. I eat cereal with yogurt when I eat it at all.

I don’t eat fruit. Fruit is a mixture of several textures. Think of a peach. There’s the skin, the flesh, and the juice. All of them require complex movements inside your mouth to deal with all three. I can’t do it. So, I don’t eat fruit. The thin juices makes me choke. I can deal with fruit juice through a straw, but in a cup I’ll choke. I like bananas, but of course, they turn my blood into pure sugar. Last time I ate half a banana I was in the 200’s. Perhaps I digest them faster than my insulin can cope with them? Fruit sucks. Give me vegetables. I can eat those.

Thinking about living with MG and diabetes for a long period of time is making me realize how much I need a pump. If I had a pump, I could give myself some insulin at the beginning of the meal, and then give myself the rest afterward without having to stick myself twice.

I need to jump through many hoops before my insurance company will pay for one. One hoop was lab tests. This morning I went to the lab and now I am waiting for test results. My mind is making up results and none of them are in my favor. What if the results show I have too much control over my diabetes and a pump is not medically necessary? I think that scares me the most. However, not being able to swallow consistently is reason enough right there because I’ll be able to tell my pump to give me some of the insulin before I eat and the rest afterward. One less fear in a life full of fear.

Lab tests represent fear for me. I think that’s part of why I dread them. It was lab tests that confirmed MG and turned my life inside out. Lab tests confirmed cancer. Lab tests determined 18 cycles of intense chemo that knocked me to my knees. Lab tests confirmed diabetes. Lab tests have never confirmed, “WOW! Looky at how well you are doing, girl! Give me a high five.”

Maybe this time will be better.

Still, I went. I fasted for my tests and I went. Then I took my paperwork to Office Depot and faxed it over to Animas. I’m getting a Ping in 2 weeks if all goes well. And it has to go well. I need it to go well. But right now I need to stop. I need to stop fretting and just eat this cupcake. Insulin + Chocolate frosted yellow cake = joy. Today began in lab hell and ends with cupcake joy. Maybe my new tradition will be bribing myself to go to my lab tests with promises of an after dinner cupcake. Maybe that’s the trick.

I went. And that matters. Cupcake time.

This post was written from a blog prompt for April 11th  from The Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge at WEGO Health.

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